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Denpagumi Inc. - World Wide Dempa review

So, time for hardcore review spam. The number of albums to review has increased, so I had better get some of them done or I'll never finish them. I was thinking of setting aside a certain day of the week to do reviews, but then I realised I'd do about seven one week and none for the next eighteen weeks leaving me with an eleven week gap. Or something. So I'll just do what I've always done and press post when I finish writing.

So, Denpagumi. Gloriously off their heads, aimed firmly at the bonkura crowd and are basically exactly the same as Momoclo only on more drugs and with more Hyadain.


Preamble: Loads and loads of colours. Going crosseyed.

1. ハジマリ。〜WORLD WIDE DEMPA〜. Hello Hyadain, some nice random oriental instrumental buildups you've got there. Now some marching band. What's that, you're going to crescendo into some hyperpop song? Why would you do that? No, seriously, why would you do that. Oh, I know, because it's awesome. 9/10

2. でんぱれーどJAPAN. Ah, dem riffs. So thrash metal, but tempered with everything else being major key and happy and minorly psychotic so it comes out sounding more like guitar-based EDM than anything. Only faster, more intense, and less shit. As it breaks down into the verse, there are about three hundred things going on at once, but somehow all pull together in one direction to make it sort of flow. Then the prechorus and chorus buildup up to hyperpaced vocal win and synth spam. Altogether it's fast-paced, energetic and a bit of a mindfuck, especially when after the first chorus we get a deconstruction of the intro and a guitar solo. All over slightly fucking crazy and win. 10/10

3. Future Diver. Hyadain's back, if only as an arranger, but it still bears all the hallmarks of his silly synth sounds and weirdness. The vocals take more of a centre stage in this one (mostly because the arrangement isn't warped as all shit), and they're performed admirably in their slightly inimitable fashion. What was I saying about the arrangement? Suddenly blasts into two-step whilst someone yells "Samba!" Hyadain still doesn't know what a fucking samba is. Mid-8 has guitars, which was something that you should really expect with Hyadain. Now they're singing "Die Die Die Die Die Die" a lot. Buildup chorus is sexy, with just guitars and vocals. Nice enough song. 8/10

4. VANDALISM. This song is brutal. Starts off hardcore rap, then moves through about thirty genres before the end. I have no idea where to even start. Hardcore rap intro, Denpa-song bit after that. Rock verse. Guitar and harpsichord prechorus. Upbeat D-beat chorus. Waltz. Rock again, then waltz again. Bass heavy preprechorus. Epic version of prechorus. Chorus. Guitar solo. Rock ballad mid-8. Prechorus. Deconstructed chorus. Chorus. Structurally this thing is among the most fucked up things I've ever reviewed. Musically it's not bad, melding all these disparate elements and somehow still sounding like one song. I've no idea how, but it works. And holy fuck is it glorious. 10/10

5. Sabotage. Is that a Beastie Boys song on my idol album? Why, yes it is, helpfully rearranged by Hyadain with MIX included. Denpa pulling off some of the noise-esque rapping of the original, with exra bits here and there, like the "chorus" in which they just go "wafuu!" This shouldn't work. It really shouldn't, but somehow it does. I've no idea what the hell was going on in their minds when they decided to cover this, but somehow they pulled it off. Screaming. Yay. Piano bit is always a bit of a mindfuck, then guitar solo. It is Hyadain, I suppose. The last verse when you can actually hear what they're rapping is hilarious just for the Engrish. 10/10

6. W.W.D. At last it arrives. Hyadain's attempt to one-up his Ebichuu nonsense and give us a song that pushes not only the boundaries of popular music, music in general and common logic, but also the boundaries of time and space for good measure. After an intro which features Denpagumi introducing themselves in about 7 languages then doing a mix, we hit the first verse, a rock-pop number. Then suddenly organs. Then slightly metal. Then piano-led bass music. Then punk. Then a waltz. That's just the verse. The prechorus is pretty rocking. Then the chorus tries to kill Denpa by flooding it with syllables at a ridiculously high BPM. Post-chorus we have an English instruction on "how to use urya-oi", followed by lots of countries. The lyrics make me laugh. Then chorus again out of nowhere. Now we're into a cello and piano morose ballad-y type thing with talking over the top. Then gradual crescendo through the use of snare drum rolls. Then prechorus again. Chorus deconstruction at half speed with piano and epicness, then back into the usual instrumentation to just fuck your brain up. It's insane, but I love it. Who can resist Hyadain-level insanity when he's turned it up to eleven this much? 10/10

7. ナゾカラ. This is a little bit of a change from what has come before. An EDM song. Luckily the arrangement sounds full and none of the buzzing, whirring or beeping annoys me too much. And then suddenly the chorus is pure Denpagumi, so that's another point in its favour. Then slows back down for the EDM verse two. I think I can categorise this as "schizophrenic EDM," or maybe "Disassociative Identity Disorder EDM". The mid-8 is so cute. Dunno how it manages, but it's another crazy arrangement achievement here. 8/10

8. イツカ、ハルカカナタ. What's this, a normal song? Barely fits on this album, also the melody synth is one of those annoying ones that occupies the higher register and sounds like squeaking. The chord progressions are nice, but the BPM is about 90 too slow for a Denpagumi song and their voices at such a non-rapid pace show their flaws more easily. Whilst it's a very pretty song (that synth aside), it's just not very Denpa-ish. I think they must have run out of insane songs and just sort of taken this on at the last minute as a best of the rest they were offered. Still, 6/10.

9. キラキラチューン. Another pop song, but this time with a pop-punk feel and a bit more uptempo. Still feels lacking on the arrangement side though. Somehow doesn't feel like a Denpagumi song without three million things happening at once. Again, quite a nice song, but aside from the solo, which sounds eerily like another solo, there's not a great deal to write about. 6/10

10. 冬へと走りだすお!  This song sounds so weird it's a joke. Again, not much on the arrangement side, but the guitar is delightfully played and the lyrics are cute as hell. And there's an acoustic lead guitar. Sounds like a beach rock song in the vein of Buono's Take it Easy. Even has the Southern Rock guitar legato in the prechorus. The Denpaness resurfaces at the end of the chorus with some tape-repeated stuff, and the second verse is entirely spoken. Cute as hell, somehow. Also fun. Needed some more fun. 7/10

11. なんてったってシャングリラ. What the actual fuck. Team Shachihoko's producer (or at least, primary songwriter) wrote this song which is basically a normal Denpagumi song, but on crack. Lots of raga instrumentation. Bhangra meets Denpa-song and A-pop meltdown. I can't imagine this working in any situation. But it does. That fucker is good. The chorus is a blatant Denpa-overdrive with so many syllables in such a short space of time it's like the guy is issuing a challenge to Hyadain on who can write the most fucked up yet still catchy and melodically pleasing whilst not abusing music theory song out there. Either way, I love it when people abuse world music instruments. The second verse has a bass overdrive. The mid-8 throws away the Indian bits entirely to do some Russian polka with tin whistles and banjos. Then I'm not entirely sure what's going on after that but I'm hallucinating. 10/10

12. W.W.D. II. And Hyadain's answer. Six and a half minutes of idol trope deconstruction at the highest level. Strings and stuff lead into Denpapop and then crash. Rockish verse leads into some of the best vocal performances ever achieved out of them, and the amount of sections in the verse are huge. Mellotrons! Just thought I'd leave that in there. Probably not a real one knowing Hyadain, but the effect is the same. Prechorus is brutal. Then the chorus is a behemoth of a melody. Hyadain must have been sitting on this motherfucker for years just waiting for the chance to use it. Then a Hyadain solo-stuff esque piano and brass section bit, then just pianos. Then the biggest "urusai!" I've ever heard in a song. Dat chorus. Then afterwards a hyperpop bit of utter adrenaline. Piano and spoken-word bit recalls the first WWD. Then slow as hell crescendo with some chanting vocals, then the best one note piano riff ever. Then MIX. DenpaMIX, which continues through the chorus. A crowning moment of awesome for idol pop. 10/10

13. Orange Rium. This starts out slow... then does a BPM increase and we get a good pop rock song out of it. More pianos make me happy. The prechorus with a descending synth is pretty. The whole song is actually pretty. The mid-8 especially, as it has a synth solo. But problematically there's nothing out of the ordinary to draw attention to. It's just a run of the mill good song. 7/10

14. 強い気持ち・強い愛. A cover of an old Ozawa Kenji song, they'd spiced it up, added some cuteness to it, and obviously upped the tempo. Has enough standout elements that draw it away from the original to make it stand out in its own right, but it's still not quite as insane as the cover of Sabotage.  We also get a nice double time bit which ends with a yelled "SHIBUYA!" which is fun. The tempo increase doesn't stop either, it just gets faster. Then we get a piano and big assed drum breakdown. Crazy, but fun. 9/10

15. でんでんぱっしょん. It would finish with this, wouldn't it. The brutally compressed guitars and the crazy assed synths are sweet, and the vocals are all over the fucking place. Sometimes like vocaloid, sometimes moe-seiyuu-like, and always insane. And the rapidfire delivery returns. I think Denpagumi could give this guy a run for his money if they tried. Motormouth idols. The mid-8 goes insane with winning synth melodies and spoken word bits and then a full on rap whilst the chord progression turns into Canon in D, or a hyperweird version of. And I wish I was kidding but so much sex. Then it stops. Then it's back into the prechorus with MOAR bass. Wtf is going on. I don't know but I love it. What a way to end. 10/10

Overall: Well, my impressions of this album are incredibly positive. The younger generation of composers that are taking over idol groups nowadays show their ability to create outstandingly weird and deranged pieces of music that fuse about 35 genres and still make them catchy as fuck deserve massive props. The girls themselves also deserve credit for performing so well over it. They may not be the best singers, but they can give off some crazy assed hyperspeed bits so props for that. The songs lagged in the middle somewhat but recovered and went over the top for the win. Damn good album.

8.7/10

3 comments:

  1. Great review, Krv, and I totally agree. Denmpagumi.inc, including this album, has been a recent favorite of mine for the last couple months along with Bellring Shoujo Heart and Hachikin Girls. Like I said on your review of Babymetal, I'm glad someone can say more about it than "my simple but honest 'fuck yeah!'"

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  2. This thing's been a really slow burn for me since its release but it's been in constant rotation the last couple of weeks. Even Hyadain is on the top of his game here. Too bad this came out in December because it'd have a pretty good chance of being top 10 for 2014.

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  3. You are lucky, seriously. I tried to like them. I listened to multiple tracks, but I just can't finish each with their strange voices. I really tried.

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