AN CAFE – Hikagyaku ZiprocK: the Review

AN CAFE: Hikagyaku ZiprocK

Hikagyaku ZiprocK is An Cafe’s first full length album in over four years. A lot has changed in the ‘Jrock’ landscape in those years, but this album shows that AN CAFE hasn’t changed a bit. If you liked them before, you’ll love the new songs. Similarly, if they irritated you before, we highly doubt any of the new offerings will win you over (but do listen to ‘O No Saki Ga Ienai’ just for the ‘lulz’.)

The album is  a mixture of styles. They have their ‘Harajuku’ high-tempo disco stuff with tracks ‘ROMAN’ and ‘Love Me Tender’ (our favourite on the whole album – and one of the European version’s three bonus tracks), Jpop-meets-Jrock with ‘Utsukushi Hito’, ‘Bee Myself Bee Yourself’, there’s some goofy chiptune fun with ‘Gendai Soldier Now’ and even a fair few ballads included too. Perhaps the most surprising element, at least for us, was the heavier approach on a few tracks. Just check out the video at the bottom of this review – that’s a little more ‘grr’ than we’re used to! And we’re liking it! Even if they do balance it out with a scary / cute girl-Miku.

Summary: Existing fans will love it. As for us, we’ve never been the biggest An Cafe fans (sorry Cafekko), and although ZiprocK certainly has its moments, it also has plenty more irritations. But that’s just us. 6/10

Hikagyaku ZiprocK is due for release in Europe from Friday 13 December (and 6 January 2014 in the UK, according to Amazon) and boasts three bonus tracks and an extra booklet with translated lyrics. Don’t forget the boys are also on tour in 2014. Click here for all the dates.

01. Juryoku Scandalous
02. ROMAN ~Let’s make precious love~
03. Hachimitsu+Lemon=?
04. Utsukushi Hito
05. Gendai Soldier Now.
06. O No Saki Ga Ienai
07. Shomi Kigen 2010.01.04
08. Itai Onna ~NO PAIN,NO LOVE ? JAPAIN GIRLS in LOVE~
09. Inazuma no Senritsu
10. Bee Myself Bee Yourself ~Jibun Rashiku Kimi Rashiku Umareta Story wa Hajimattenda
11. Kiminomachi ~5 person sing along ver.~
12. Itsumo no Kiss de / MaT [European Bonus Track]
13. Love Me♡Tender / Paku x2 Pakuchi [European Bonus track]
14. Merry Making ~Anti-aging ver~ [European Bonus Track]

Order from Amazon: Special European Edition, Japanese Limited Edition.

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About Tom Smith
Some say he's fuelled on nothing but energy drinks, and that when he visits Japan, he spends the whole time engaging the ground in an all too familiar way. But what we do know is that his words on the country's entertainment and culture find their way into NEO Magazine on a monthly basis, while everything else finds its way here. Be it quirky news item from the Land of the Rising Sun, or a story so gruesome it'd be rude not to pass it on, you'll find it here along with his general posts about life, work and most importantly play. And yes, he has had articles printed in the likes of MCV, GamesMaster, 360 Gamer and more, thanks for noticing.

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