Mini Album Title: Virginity
Release Date: 12/19/2012
After their first two singles, Gotcharocka and Hydrag, along with an AMAZING live show (where they were playing as 818~hyper, as it was before their first official live) at which they almost outrocked the band I was there to see, I found myself anxiously awaiting Gotcharocka's first (mini) album. From Gotcharocka I was expecting not just mediocre or good, but great. They've got a fresh, new sound that seems to combine all of the best aspects of visual kei (and is it really a surprise, given the background of all the members)
For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. The album starts off with a bang, with the track "Virginity," which is anything but innocent, as the title might suggest. It's heavy while at the same time managing to be light and catchy. It feels like an "Alice in Wonderland" meets "Wizard of Oz" meets "Nemo in Slumberland" kind of dream. Trippy? Surreal? Amazing? Yes, yes, yes!
"Virginity" moves easily into my favorite track on the album, "2032," a poppy, gothy, heavy, scatter-brained tribute to ADD. This track is all over the place, containing enough in 3 minutes and 46 seconds to make up a whole album (did they really need all those other songs?)
After having your mind utterly blown by all that is "2032," you'll find yourself jumping out of your chair and dancing like a maniac to the pop masterpiece that is "Onomatopoeia." Can you say masterfully written, masterfully performed, masterfully produced bubblegum? Because that's what this song is. And if you somehow don't find yourself singing and dancing along, you'll at least find yourself tapping your feet to the beat.
With the first three songs being so supremely killer, I'll admit that they lost me a little bit with "H." Full of electro-beats and heavy bass, this song felt more like something I would hear from a new band experimenting for the first time with visual kei. It has very little of the fresh, fun, experimental sound that I've come to associate with Gotcharocka. It felt generic, safe.
Luckily, "Morphine" picks up right where "Onomatopoeia" left off. Ladies, take your hair down and get ready to bang, because that's what this song is all about. Jui's voice is crisp and clear (and is that falsetto that I hear?) as the guitar moves steadily along - I would even go so far as to call this song beautiful. Which is appropriate, as it takes the occasional foray into death metal voices and heavy, gothic guitar and drums, giving you the perfect headbanging beat. And just enough time to do it without getting a crick in your neck. I get the feeling that's not an accident. . . these guys know what they're doing!
Bamboo flutes, chimes, traditional drums - yet again, not an accident that they chose this song to go out with a Japanese bang. This song is overflowing with emotion, causing it to be the perfect closing song for an album; it will definitely leave you remembering only everything you loved about the album, and you'll most likely find yourself listening to it again. And again and again and again.