Beat Crusaders

Popdod

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Beat Crusaders have the Rentals cited as one of their main influences, but although both bands work on adding synthesizer parts to rock music, the comparison doesn't really stand: BECR, as their portmanteau goes, are not just new wave revivalists, they dig right into the heart of '80s dance-pop, fusing it with punk of the Bad Religion/Pennywise type. They've got the hoarse vocalist who sounds as if he's fresh out of California, the speed, and the guitar lines, but they would be poppy even by blink-182 standards, what with the rhythmic hand-clapping, the keyboard lines straight out of 1987 charts, and the absence of any punky "toughness" whatsoever. The result may cause initial confusion -- the group's got all the props of a punk band, but still doesn't sound like one. But the trick is to take Beat Crusaders for what they are -- a guitar pop collective that just likes to play fast and has a great feel for a hook. Even "great" may be an understatement, as there's not one filler track on Popdod, and, what's more, since there are many ways to cross a synth line with guitar, the record avoids uniformity, the common plague of punkers and J-rockers alike -- even if there's nothing essentially different between the songs. BECR may have taken a long time to get where they are with Popdod, released on the band's mastermind Toru Hidaka's 40th birthday, but the trip was definitely worth it, as there weren't many bands of their ability in the world of Japanese commercial rock in 2008.

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