Ali and Jun, aka 80Kidz, might be Japan’s very own blogosphere darlings, but time hasn’t been kind on their peers in the West. Indie-dance favorites such as The Shoes and Autokratz, both of whom featured as guests on the band’s debut full-length, “This Is My Shit,” have fallen into irrelevance — victims of the rapidly changing tastes that music-blog aggregator HypeMachine’s Top 10 chart reflects on a weekly basis. It goes some way to explain why 80Kidz’s most recent single “Spoiled Boy,” a collaborative effort with CSS vocalist Lovefoxxx — which would have been every blogger’s wet dream this time last year — doesn’t even feature on their newest offering, “Weekend Warrior.”
In fact, aside from a rework of “Voice,” originally released in February, the duo’s sophomore release consists entirely of new material. Opening track “Nautilus” is an anthemic synth-stomper that encapsulates all the best features of 80Kidz’s maximal-tech style and kicks off proceedings with a bang. The majority of the album continues in a similar vein — polished, catchy instrumental tracks that never quite hit the peaks of the opener but have their own charms, be it the cascading synth-arpeggios in “Flow With It” or the cryptic spoken-word interjections in “Agenda” that walk the fine line between avante-garde hipster-chic and, well, plain old “Engrish.” If anything, the release could benefit from a bit less consistency — a few collaborations or vocal-led tracks wouldn’t have been out of place here, even if it did mean including some misses among the hits.