Japanese quartet CHAI have just announced their sophomore album. The follow-up to their debut album Pink will be called Punk. It will be released on March 15th via Burger Records.
For those unfamiliar with CHAI, the band have a particular approach to the sugared world of kawaii culture. Their first album offered a tongue-in-cheek excursion through the cute aspects of expectation. Now, with ‘Fashionista’, the first track of the upcoming album the tongue is still in cheek, but whose cheek?
Beneath the punk elements and punchy bass, there’s a perverted sense of disco. Or maybe beneath the disco there’s a perverted sense of punk. There’s a lightness of touch, a chiffon-lemon shine about things – but with the bright and breezy strut there’s a mouthful of grit.
Punk isn’t just about music. It’s a word that draws from a deep well – the sense of self. ‘Fashionista’ is a reference to the reclamation of individual style. CHAI pour confidence into the process of dressing up, dressing down, or not giving a shit about what you’re dressed in. The feminist undercurrent is not an undercurrent – but a tsunami of self-worth and strong messaging. A solid reference for the listener. ‘Oh – I’m good enough as is!’ Liberating stuff.
CHAI are a band with a particular approach to video production. The visual work for ‘GREAT JOB’ was great work. It’s through the on screen antics that English speaking audiences can gain deeper key to the process. Gender roles are explored, media projection and expectations are handled with humor – and yet the punch lands clean.
‘Fashionista’ is a solid, enigmatic introduction for whatever will happen on Punk. It’s enough of a clue to suggest an evolutionary sonic step, but it also points to a deepening of vision. It’s the promise of the track that’s as rewarding as the danceability.