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Alternative & Indie - Released March 15, 2019 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
The Japanese quartet CHAI made a big splash with their giddy, genre-splicing debut album Pink, and while their follow-up Punk lacks the element of surprise that made Pink so exciting, it's still joyous and thrilling pop music. CHAI reigned in some of the anything-goes approach of Pink here, casting aside some of the rap-rock influences and adding some production sheen to the mixes. That said, this is still exuberant music made by women who aren't willing to stay in their lane. If they want to throw heavy metal guitar grind into a synth pop ballad ("Curly Adventure") they will. If they feel like writing a revved-up ode to housework with jumbled samples and a frenetic, pulsating rhythm ("Good Job"), it's happening. They take on rubbery funk ("Fashionista"), happily corny handbag house ("This Is CHAI"), sunny '90s pop ("FAMILY MEMBER"), and punchy cheerleader rock ("Choose Go!) with the same kind of energy and aplomb that they did on Pink. Along with all the genre-hopping, there are a number of songs that settle into a kind of midtempo indie pop with synths and shouted choruses that suit them well. They dipped into it a little on Pink; here they perfect it. Tracks like "I'm Me" and Wintime" have a calm and collected feel that allows for relaxed listening and even a little bit of melancholy, or at least a little less giddiness, to creep into the proceedings. The similarly peaceful -- for CHAI anyway -- "Future" has a sweet, hopeful feel and almost a pop-reggae sound; "Feel the BEAT" is assured midtempo pop that isn't miles away from the mainstream of streaming pop, only the group's version of that sound has way more spirit than average. That goes for everything they try, and even though Punk might not be the pop explosion that Pink was, it's a well-rounded album that capitalizes on the band's imagination and capacity for experimentation while blending the sounds more organically. Plus, it's more fun than just about anything else going on in the late 2010s and that alone makes the record and the band worth checking out and falling (and staying madly) in love with. ~ Tim Sendra
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Rock - Released August 21, 2018 | Heavenly Recordings

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The Japanese quartet CHAI aren't easy to pin down musically and that's their plan. They mix and match a variety of sounds and styles on their debut album Pink in thrilling fashion that's both very '90s and totally up to date. It sounds like it could have been released by Grand Royal or Emperor Norton in the '90s -- the band display the same disregard for the boundaries of the genre as many bands on those labels gleefully did. It also reflects the contemporary anything-goes attitude of a band making records in an age where almost any form of music is only a click away. On just the first three songs the record veers from the hip hop-inspired, Shamir-jacking funk opener "Hi Hi Baby" to the pulsing, post-punk rocker "N.E.O.," which shows off guitarist Kana's skills and has an insistent hook, to the romping, super fun "Boys Seco Men." It's one surprise after another on every song after that, each with a huge hook and a breathtaking display of the kind of high wire derring-do that most bands don't even attempt. They follow the mind-bending wackiness of the first three songs with a pretty laid-back ballad "Horechatta," a lovely track that sounds like otherworldly soft rock beamed in from a satellite. Then it's on to the pumped-up alien disco of "Fried," ridiculous chopped-up funk that Beck would think was too weird on "Gyaranboo," Strokes-y rock on "Walking Star," and the bubbling sunshine pop of "Sayonara Complex." Throughout the record, they chuck in proto-metal guitar solos, yelped vocal interjections, rock school basslines, chirpy vocal harmonies, and odd samples; basically anything they felt like doing, and it's totally refreshing. They don't seem to care about replicating or incorporating sounds that might make them more popular; it's more about having fun and making the music they want to make. Luckily for fans of goofy, happy, and endlessly entertaining pop, the music they want to make is all of those things and Pink is the work of a band in love with music, doing it for kicks alone and not worried at all about being cool or cute. It's refreshing and fun and some of the best pop music anyone is likely to hear in the late 2010s. ~ Tim Sendra
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Pop - Released January 28, 2019 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released February 8, 2019 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released January 28, 2019 | Heavenly Recordings

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Pop - Released July 17, 2014 | Championship

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Reggae - Released August 9, 2013 | House Of Riddim