Anamanaguchi and I have a history. They are, officially, the Band I Keep Missing. Twice I went to one of their frequent local (Brooklyn and Manhattan) shows, and got there after they had played. Once I showed up and saw a whole set, but they hadn’t gotten the video working, and I got the idea that their 8bit videos are a critical part of the concert experience. Plus they only had like 5 songs at the time. Then I missed them a couple times after that. I did, however, buy Dawn Metropolis at that first missed show, and rocked out to it. I didn’t, like, subscribe to their list or anything, so I didn’t know they had produced a new album and funded its wide release on Kickstarter and released it themselves pretty much immediately. I just saw the “leak” and went “HOT DAMN, NEW ANAMANAGUCHI.”
And a hot damn it is. Endless Fantasy is 80 minutes of joy, and it feels longer, because it’s hyperactive and complex. I can best compare it to playing a perfect game of Super Mario Brothers, which I have never done. But Anamanaguchi allows lazy imperfect nerds like myself to simulate that experience. They are so generous!
Anamanaguchi has always been a rock band wrapped around a Nintendo candy core, but this album seems poppier, especially with the guest vocals full of teen romance one would expect from a video game soundtrack (such as that they wrote for Scott Pilgrim: The Game, so that makes sense). This also gives one the sensation of dancing in a J-Pop video. The track that I dislike for this quality is “Prom Night”, but the rest of the album flows seamlessly from perfect frenetic rockout to perfect DDR session to both at once.
I don’t know how they picked the singles “Planet”, “Meow” (preceded by a barking interlude), and “Endless Fantasy”, but 2/3 of the album could be singles. I also like “John Hughes”, “Akira”, and “Space Wax America”. They give you just enough interludes to not, you know, pass out in a mollied frenzy, in case you were dancing. It’s three times as long as their only other non-soundtrack album, which I refuse to even count as full-length.
The video for “Endless Fantasy” features one of the most Millenial stunts you can imagine – sending a slice of pizza to space on a weather balloon. Livestreamed to a Brooklyn party, of course. It is beautiful to give pizza new experiences, and anyone watching that video can really identify with that slice of pizza. This is a cyberpunk aesthetic revived the way pop-punk sort of revived punk without the political content: pastel neon, laser space backgrounds, cute girls with piercings, neverending 1980s teenagerhood experienced as you only can in your thirties in 2013 when you can really appreciate it.
In what could be a parody of fellow feelgood indie dance band Starfucker, the album closes with a semi-coherent California Eastern Mystic sort of guru lecture explaining that most optimistic variety of solipsism. It’s the Anamanaguchi zeitgeist. Like, dude, your life is a video game, man.