Beat Crusaders

Rest Crusaders

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For their final album, the Japanese indie darlings-turned-superstars the Beat Crusaders put together a massive, massive set. Rest Crusaders does a number of things all at the same time, signaling a finality to their career in a single shot. The album collects a number of their previous hits (though perhaps not some of the biggest theme songs they were responsible for), adds a last dose of new material, pays tribute to a number of their influencing bands with covers and mash-ups, and a smattering of collaborations to show their connections to the current music scene. It's a big undertaking, but the band has a large catalog to work with. The catch, of course, is that such a large set almost necessarily has both high and low points. The synth-heavy collaboration with Hitomi Takahashi, "Wo Ai Ni," is a bright, poppy number with just a bit of punch, but the cover of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" is ill-fit at best. Pieces like "Situation" show a very strong influence of classic bands like Boøwy, while "B.A.D." drips with melodramatic '80s synthesizer lines. Fans should be thrilled, and newcomers will find plenty of good material (mixed with the mediocre) to learn about the Beat Crusaders in one fell swoop.