The unofficial disclaimer on this EP is this: From the perspective of this Maniac and this website, the emergence of Yukueshirezutsurezure (along with their sister group Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da) in the past year is one of the most exciting things in idol, period. While new trails are being blazed pretty much week to week, somebody will naturally stand out more than others, and Tsurezure is like this incredible beacon of loss and pain.
As befits an idol group, in just over six months of existence, they’ve already experienced their share of membership turnover, but they haven’t slowed their trajectory one bit, for which kudos to Codomomental management are deserved; to stand out and keep standing out in a ridiculously competitive scene, you must keep moving. No sooner was this CD in stores than the group’s first official single was announced for an August release.
That piece, given recent developments in the membership and something of an emergence of a core sound, will likely be a stepping-off point for the group, their real debut. This EP, on the other hand, very much is a collection from its formative period, and as such includes several different moves in its short length.
So with that being said, what is the verdict on this relative time capsule?
I don’t hide my love for Yukueshirezutsurezure. At all. From their very first (absolutely terrifying) digital single’s release in December 2015, I’ve wanted nothing more than to understand this pallid, tortured project, like an angsty teenager’s laments brought to life.
One thing that always comes up is their nigh-incomprehensible name; an actual Japanese speaker should feel free to correct this, but I like how Romajidesu.com pieced together “the tedium of being in an insignificant place”: Idols in conflict with the banality of unfulfilling life is a wonderful concept, and the music (which was recently pointed out in the comments as self-referenced as “weakness-based theater system”) fits it perfectly.
That is very much on display throughout Antino Ideology. It is a collection, a little bit of a grab-bag, but that thematic through-line holds the whole together.
Here’s how it manifests: Combine lo-fi production with pop melodies that keep crashing into boiling-over frustrations; imagine the agony of always wanting to reach something that’s just barely inaccessible, the way you want to scream at the people at work who can never talk about anything but the weather no matter what else is happening int he world — that’s what this EP, on the whole, feels like.
We were treated over the weekend to the music video for the nominal title track, “Ideology,” and not much more needs to be said about it except that, in lining it up to the rest of these tracks, it speaks to another important part of Tsurezure’s music, that of a very deliberate disregard for normal song structures. This one, in fact, has what might be considered a chorus all of once, and several passes through what could be verses, but it’s really a meandering smash-and-grab through musical representations of conflicting feelings.
There are relatively safe passages in here, though. The two digital singles, “Kyousoukaichinari” (凶葬詩壱鳴り) and “Shinjuku Cinema Connection” (新宿シネマコネクション), both feature at least some of Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da, and both are somewhat more conventional alt-idol numbers that wouldn’t sound completely out of place if done by Maison Book Girl (another in the Yami-Kawaii Hall of Fame). “Kyousoukaichinari” even plays like a perfectly accessible alt-rock song. Except for the screaming. And the fury bursts of percussion. “Shinjuku Cinema Connection,” with its lighter tone and denpa-song edges, could actually pass for a Kiminosei song.
The EP’s boldest moves, and those that seem to conform most nearly to what’s becoming Tsurezure’s trademark sound, are elsewhere. “Tsurezure Anthem” (つれづれ賛歌) is the closest to those easier tracks, and it’s still a minefield of madness, using digital hardcore choruses to violently punctuate verses (if you can properly call overlapping, lazily meandering vocals a verse) that are one part Hijokaidan and one part atmospheric vaporwave. “Ultramarine” (群青) is a banger, and a great one at that, a taste of old-school hardcore put through an alt-idol wringer; come for the great group work (with harmonies!) and clever use of harsh voices beneath the cleans to mix emotions, and stay for the even better hook in the chorus. I think this is Tsurezure’s best overall vocal work.
For the closer, Tsurezure went with “鏡想唱二鳴り,” which is an absolute destroyer of a song. It’s a partial redux of “Kyousoukaichinari” almost as a nursery rhyme with a standard idol twist, except that it’s being fed through somebody’s emotional meat grinder, the screams sounding like they’re coming from the other end of your own sanity. It’s also probably the most slickly produced song in the collection, helping to drive home the fact that you can take these idols to accessible places, but they’re going to thrash against the walls the entire time.
To be completely fair, though, you can only get away with so much disjointedness before it starts to affect the enjoyability of a product, and that’s on display on Antino Ideology; nothing here is bad on its own, but the whole reflects the fact that it’s a collection of music by a group that was still feeling itself out. I say that as a warning more than as a critique; nothing that Yukueshirezutsurezure does is truly safe, so jagged tonal shifts and abrupt jumps in intensity are to be expected.
All in all, this EP sums up its creators very well and speaks to what looks likely to be a very
frightening promising future.
Added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist:
You’re goddamn right.