An Cafe - Kakusei Heroism ~THE HERO WITHOUT A 'NAME'~

review - 09.28.2007 08:00

An Cafe are back with new members and a new single.

Having suffered the loss of their guitarist, Bou, earlier this year, many fans feared a possible disbandment for An Cafe, but thankfully such fears were put to rest when it was revealed that not only would An Cafe be recruiting a new guitarist, Takuya, but that they would also be adding a permanent keyboardist by the name of Yu-ki. Once this news had been revealed, there was a lot of anticipation for An Cafe’s new release and speculations as to whether or not their style would have changed considerably due to the change in lineup. With the release of Kakusei Heroism ~THE HERO WITHOUT A 'NAME'~, An Cafe has proved that not only are they still a strong group and the same An Cafe underneath it all, but also that they had new tricks up their sleeve and a different edge to their music.

The title track of the single is without a doubt an An Cafe song from the moment it begins. The music is poppy and upbeat with a hint of rock and dance seeping through as well. It is possible to discern slight variations in the style of the music from An Cafe’s previous material, as the keyboards play a much larger role than earlier works and Takuya employs a slightly different guitar technique than Bou, giving the song a fresh quality to it. This song could be seen as a way of 'introducing' the new members to their fans, as the final third of the song opens with a brief keyboard solo, swiftly followed by Takuya’s guitar solo. Despite this showcase of their new members, Kakusei Heroism does not lose the other members for a moment. This dance-like song has a very strong beat to it, courtesy of Teruki’s drums and kanon’s complimentary bass lines, which makes it very catchy and cheerful. Miku’s vocals are confident and pleasing with a more mature sound than some of An Cafe’s earlier work. His vocals work equally well with the more relaxed, steady beat of the verses as well as with the cheerful, upbeat, and incredibly catchy chorus. Although there are various notable differences between this track and An Cafe’s previous work, the chorus is somewhat reminiscent of their single Smile Ichiban Ii Onna, showing that no matter what changes have been made, An Cafe is still An Cafe and still more than capable of creating a memorable, fun song which will make the listener want to get up and dance.

In contrast to this, the single’s B-side Respect Mommy ~hito no yaku tatereba ii jibun no tokui na koto de~ is a much more rock-based song, employing heavier guitars, pounding beats, and a combination of rap-like vocals and shouts. These vocals, which are unusual for Miku, are later coupled with softer harmonies which lead into a much more poppy-sounding chorus, accompanied by an almost 'cutesy' keyboard line in the background. This song is definitely unlike anything An Cafe has ever attempted before and therefore could be a somewhat hit or miss with older fans of the band. However, although the song sounds rather unlike An Cafe until the chorus kicks in, this track displays two different sides to their music and shows that they are not afraid to try something new, as well as perhaps hinting that they may be attempting more songs like this in the future. Respect Mommy displays An Cafe’s ability to embrace new things and to turn their hands to any and every genre out there, though it is a track which may take a few listens before it works its way into the heart of older An Cafe fans.

This single also includes the PV for Kakusei Heroism, which is a typically upbeat An Cafe video, although it does lack the usual brightly-coloured dressing-up that is often be expected from them, perhaps showing a slightly more mature outlook from the band.

As a whole, this single definitely shows a two different sides of An Cafe and proves that they are still capable of producing great music in a range of genres. However, the vastly differing styles of its two tracks mean that we have yet to learn the truth as to the main direction of An Cafe’s new sound. Perhaps the boys will be able to enlighten us further with their upcoming single, Ryuusei Rocket, and a following album, which will hopefully be announced later in the year. One thing is for certain: An Cafe is back and they are even more fearless than before.
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