Asian Kung-Fu Generation

World World World

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Asian Kung-Fu Generation have perfected their sound for their major-label debut, Houkai Ampurifa (2003), already, and have been churning out record after record of similar material ever since. The songwriting quality was always top-notch, but after a while there came a feeling that the time for moving on has come, or at least is drawing near. This feeling becomes evident on their 2008 record, World World World, that doesn't quite break the band's stylistic paradigm, but shows signs of trying to develop a fresh approach. The core sound is intact: Asian Kung-Fu Generation still play that melodic Weezer-styled emo composed with talent and performed with punk speed. At the same time, the desire to stir things up a bit is evidenced by the first track already -- it's a short semi-instrumental that puts a Beatles influence over waltzy 1-2-3 timing and gets repeated again in the latter half of the album. That is promising already, and the start of "After Dark" is even more intriguing, considering that these weird rhythms appear in a successful hit single. However, the tried and true approach still dominates here, and the unconventional moments are sparse and scattered throughout the record. Standard Asian Kung-Fu Generation is still a thing to enjoy -- the melodies are so tightly packed that the songs seem longer than they actually are, and that's a sign of quality here. But still, it would be nice if next time AKFG finally stopped being scared of their own potential, which seems to have grown from huge to huger and hardly fits the obvious commercial limitations the band abides by.

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