Antijustice: intellectually, they seem very concerned with the color wheel, with song titles “My Color, Your Color’s,” and “He Is a Rainbow,” and many lyrical mentions to grey. Odd. Musically, these Osaka dudes could have easily emerged from late ‘90s Midwestern America pop punk scene. (Perhaps there’s a subway. It seems the Japanese always have a leg up on those technologies.) And with any Japanese punk band I’ve ever heard, they play better than Americans and we’d feel shame for that if we didn’t have beer and hot dogs to rub into our wounds. Oh, and the beginning sounds a bit like the Avengers. Chinese Telephones: Going out are the simple, traceable hooks of their previous incarnation, Hot Carl. Coming in are sophisticated songs—no, not douchebag “I mess up my hair just right so it looks like I don’t care” sophistication—but that hard-to-pinpoint, I’m-looking-inside and trying to write pop songs that bite and snarl and shout for me. And it’s paying off. The less memorable moments and leaning against obvious influences of earlier outings are being shed and discarded like too-small sweaters. What’s evolving is a band that’s beginning to realize their potential of putting pop and punk together in a way that shows their hearts without it being a cheap iron-on that’ll fade in time, while never forgetting that people like to shake their asses.
–todd (Snuffy Smiles)