Chatmonchy

Seimei-Ryoku

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Three-girl rock band Chatmonchy are, to say the least, an acquired taste. They have made it their cause to power their way into the realm of power pop with the big boys, and for the most part have succeeded extraordinarily. However, their frontwoman has a vocal style that leaves even their fans divided. Eriko Hashimoto sings with an added nasality, screaming her way through the songs here. The screaming, along with the ultra-nasal delivery, leads to an assaultive sound on the whole. On "Seimeiryoku," listeners can't be sure why Eriko is angry with them, but the music makes it clear that she is indeed angry. The music itself is exceptional, with ultra-tight compositions anchored firmly by the basic guitar/bass/drums trio and layered sounds developing atop one another with just enough regularity to keep a coherent style while allowing just enough exploration and divergence to keep the sound a bit off-kilter. That off-kilter nature is exploited for the whole of the album, adding a playful touch to the music that might have been lost in a pure power pop outing, but when combined with the vocal style can occasionally lead to a more cheerful sound. The music is a little bit odd, even for fans of J-pop and its widespread eccentricities. However, there is still some treasure to be had, especially for those who find they can embrace Hashimoto's vocal style.