Hazel Nuts Chocolate


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That Hazel Nuts Chocolate is heavily influenced by children's literature can be easily discerned by the upbeat march of opening track "Hello," which bears a more than passing resemblance to French children's singer and former yé yé girl Chantal Goya. Nevertheless, it's clear from the gleefully nonsensical lyrics, bordering on Dadaist at times, and the frequent mashing up of genres (hip-hop, jazz, samba, blues, German oompah music, etc.) that Cute is very much the music of fashionable, young, postmodern Tokyoites. The similarity with Plus-Tech Squeeze Box is readily apparent, with "Koi Wa Kyurukyuru" echoing the manic pace and high sugar content of much of that group's work, and the fact that Hayashibe Tomonori once again collaborates on much of the album should come as no surprise. Cute, however, is a less intense experience, relying far less on studio trickery and cutting and pasting, and far more on more traditionally structured songs. Cute lacks some of the dark edge that cast such intriguing shadows over its predecessor, Bewitched, but as a brightly colored album of eccentric electronic Japanese pop music, it has few peers in terms of the catchiness of its tunes and its sheer positive energy.

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