HANGRY&ANGRY - Kill Me Kiss Me

review - 11.15.2008 07:00

HANGRY&ANGRY combines lolita punk fashion with catchy music for a winning combination.

If you're interested in Jrock, Japanese punk style and gothic lolita fashion, chances are you've heard of h.Naoto. Many artists have worn this brand, from Ayabie to Gackt to Amy Lee of American band Evanescence. In October 2008, a special unit called HANGRY&ANGRY was created to promote h.Naoto's fashion line of the same name. The fashion line has a story: two alien cats with a taste for music and fashion have arrived on Earth to save it. In real life, the character HANGRY is portrayed by Hitomi Yoshizawa, Rika Ishikawa plays ANGRY, and if those two names seem familiar, they should - both ladies are former fourth generation Morning Musume members.

HANGRY&ANGRY will release their debut mini-album Kill Me Kiss Me on November 19 simultaneously in Japan and in the U.S. Promotional images of duo have HANGRY and ANGRY dressed to the nines as gothic punk princesses, but is their music as edgy and dark as their clothes?

The mini-album opens with Kill Me Kiss Me, which starts with some electronically distorted yelling. It quickly becomes a fast paced rock song with a touch of techno-pop influence. HANGRY benefits from the lower key and sounds better with her deeper voice, but ANGRY's voice is a bit too sweet and light. This becomes a slight problem when they harmonize; in trying to accommodate each other, neither can sing quite low enough to match the chorus melody. However, their voices are very smooth and this doesn't detract from the song much at all. The electric guitar drives the song, and this is the selling point of the track. The energy and power gives it a bouncy rock feel and makes you want to dance.

The second track, Angelia, has an even more techno-pop sound, but this time it works. Set in minor key, the song is in a register both girls can easily navigate - you can still tell the difference between their voices, but they both sound solid. A skipping drumbeat carries the song along, and there’s a church choir feeling to the chorus, which is reinforced by the tolling bells during the instrumental break. It's easy to imagine HANGRY and ANGRY singing this song in a Gothic cathedral. Though songs in Angelia's style have been done before, the girls make it work for them, and this song should be a popular one.

GIZA GIZA kicks off with a thrumming bass line and a heavy, digitalized melody. The bass drops out after the intro, but the drums remain, and they compete with ANGRY for the listener's attention. HANGRY has the advantage again during the verses; her full voice meshes better with the dark, moody style. The chorus is a little generic with just minor key arpeggios and the girls singing in harmony, but it’s catchy enough that no one will care!

The intro to Romantic Violence is soft and gentle, but past that the song becomes an old school 80’s style anime theme! HANGRY and ANGRY switch off lines in the first verse, which is a little different from what they had done on previous tracks, and listeners get a chance to hear how different their voices are. The girls also harmonize particularly well in this song. The chorus is a flashback to 80’s pop-rock with the addition of some techno, and that creates a nostalgic but fun atmosphere. Except for the excessive repeats of "romantic violence," the song is easy to sing to and the beat sounds good and steady.

The dark and creepy lead in to WALL FLOWER tricks you into believing it will be a slow, melancholy number, but fifteen seconds in, the song swings into a happy, electronic melody. This song is by far the most cheerful and most optimistic sounding on the CD. ANGRY takes the lead during the harmonies and paves the way with her lighter voice, and the chorus is open and bright. Overall, WALL FLOWER has a very cute vibe and is the perfect end to the mini-album. It will be stuck in your head long after the CD stops spinning and keep a smile on your face.

As the debut release of HANGRY&ANGRY, Kill Me Kiss Me gives a pretty good idea of what to expect from the duo. The songs are fashionably pop-punk, and you get the feeling that the girls aren’t taking themselves too seriously - they’re here to look good and have fun, which is what the clothing line is all about. Heavy gothic rock isn't going to be their thing, but for something delightfully punk and entertaining, HANGRY&ANGRY will do h.Naoto proud.
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