Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders Leap to the Front of the Class

Attention students!! Leaders just dropped the early front-runner for album of the year.

Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders has never been the most accessible of units from a Western perspective. Their MVs often sit behind region blocks and paywalls, while their music makes artsy references to social concerns that may require cultural translation. In short, exploring the group’s music requires a bit more proactive labor than just clicking “play” on YouTube and rockin’ your socks off. However, with the release of their stunning second album, Wakage Ga Itaru, now is the time to put in that extra effort.

(Short Ver.)MV’s are a Crime. REPORTED!!

The primary reason for Leaders’ sudden candidacy for the Alt-Idol A-List is due to their latest album’s hard turn away from acid jazz influences and into rock territory. Their recent collaborations with friend-of-Homicidols Urbangarde seem to have rubbed off in a good way, and you can feel their trauma-techno-rock fingerprints on a number of tracks. Their direct collaboration continues here as well with frontman Tenma contributing the lyrics to the album’s second single, “Koi Geba”.

While only short versions of the new album’s MVs are available in the West, the album in its entirety is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and probably other places. You should listen to it many times. All 11 tracks on Wakage Ga Itaru are remarkably solid, bouncing from the aforementioned trauma-pop to KenKen-groove-flavored pop punk to piano-centric shoegaze. Fans of Leaders’ earlier work shouldn’t feel left behind, though, as their primary composer/producer, piano prodigy H ZETT M, is still very much behind the helm, lending a consistent City Pop atmosphere. The end result is simply startling.

Meanwhile, Leaders center Suzuka also launched a YouTube talk show this week and welcomed her first guest: Gang Parade.

In short, it’s time to take to Atarashii Gakkou No Leaders off of the the “I’ll get around to them when I find some time” list and just dive in head first. If we send them enough Western attention, perhaps they will let us watch their full length MVs one day.