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Bump of Chicken keeps things nice on ‘Butterflies’

by

Special To The Japan Times

Bump of Chicken “Butterflies” (Toy’s Factory)

Butterflies are beautiful. Whether they’re floating around in a garden or tattooed on a woman’s shoulder — they’re colorful and intricate. Bump of Chicken’s latest release, “Butterflies,” is neither of those things.

That’s not to say “Butterflies” is all bad, it’s just nothing new. The last album Bump of Chicken gave us was 2014’s “Ray,” and it’s good when a band has a signature sound, but “Butterflies” ends up feeling like a giant retread of its usual alternative rock. The album opens with the track “Go,” but it seems to stall instead. It would’ve been better if the band was more forceful and aggressive. It’s less “go!” and more “do you want to go?”

Bump Of Chicken experiments with EDM (electronic dance music) on “Butterfly,” with the result sounding a little like Coldplay and Avicii’s 2014 collaboration “A Sky Full of Stars.” But in 2016 the experiment feels dated. A lot of bands in Japan are blending EDM into their songs and getting better results. Also, given the country’s booming netlabel scene, Bump of Chicken could have had its pick of newer talent to create something truly innovative.

There are still a few bright spots on “Butterflies.” “Hello, World!” picks up the slack from the album’s other tracks with a complicated melody, and singer Motoo Fujiwara’s vocals really shine. The true highlight, however, is “Parade.” It begins with a captivating piano melody before adding on more and more vocals and instruments until it finally hits an explosive climax. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the songs on “Butterflies” don’t follow the kind of metamorphosis “Parade” does, but fans should be happy nonetheless.