Album review: [USA] by Anamanaguchi

2 mins read

Anamanaguchi have worked through a crisis of identity to create [USA], their strongest work to date.

The band started out making chiptune, a genre composed exclusively of music made from the modified sound chips of Nintendo Entertainment Systems and Game Boys.

Anamanaguchi eventually broke free of the limitations of chiptune however, incorporating more guitar, drums and vocals to produce their breakout album 2013’s Endless Fantasy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Anamanguchi’s sound has matured a lot in the 6 years since the release of Endless Fantasy.

This more developed sound was inspired in part by how the world feels like a much darker place now than it did in 2013 and because of this, the group took a hard look at the band’s foundations and realised the only way was forward.

Despite this need to evolve, [USA] does maintain the hyper-energetic pace of earlier albums in places.

Longtime fans will recognise this classic sound in tracks like B S X, made using Hatsune Miku, the vocaloid software/holographic idol singer who the band released a single with and supported on her North American tour in 2016.

The factor which makes [USA] Anamanguchi’s most complete album to date however, is that they are now not afraid to slow their trademark blistering pace down for tracks heavy with nostalgia and emotion.

The at-once bittersweet and rousing Tear and Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem) with its lyrics composed from the placeholder text used in graphic design, allowing you to interpret the emotion behind them for yourself, open up new horizons for a band best known for songs so sugary-sweet they hurt your teeth.

Overall, the long-awaited [USA] is a wonderful maturation from the intentionally indulgent Endless Fantasy. A complete, concise album, best listened to in full, which shows Anamanguchi are adepts at creating music perfectly suited to a generation raised in the digital age.

Feature image credit: billboard.com

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