Man, Malcolm Mask McLaren Makes Music Mucho Merry

Vintage MMM with Ai and Mone and Nao was one of my low-key favorite things in idol (and Ai was one of my favorite people), and they established the formula (beginning around here IIRC); the new members had big personality shoes to fill, but getting right as distinct an identity in a field that’s all about identity? Bigger job. They’ve done it well so far; now does the latest single hold up?

You’re darn tootin’!

It’s really interesting, I think, how the group’s sound keeps moving around within a reasonably well-understood genre family, sometimes expanding on themes within it and sometimes trying out new combinations. Whether it was melodic hardcore or easycore or however you’d want to label it, it always felt really grounded. And here they are now, a different lineup seasoned and acclimated, still mining that same creative space while reminding us that they are without mistake still at the base an idol group. And it’s fresh as hell and an absolutely pitch-perfect summer song.

I’ve always thought that, sound and image and cultural callbacks and everything together, MMM was one of the groups that would have a chance if it were to suddenly buy its way into be invited to join a Warped Tour or something similar: The same genre space that they occupy is basically the one that knocked the final crust of pretense off of punk rock 20 years ago, anyway, and I think there’s probably a more natural crossover audience between easycore and idol than would make anybody comfortable in acknowledgement. That’s blunted somewhat now that the masks are off and they in so many ways look “just” like an idol group, but it’s also okay — manager-san was definitely learning along the way, too, and seems to have found a true sweet spot for this really-needs-to-produce-and-release-more-stuff project.

The single’s out next week. And for posterity’s sake, I just really love the cover art, too: