Review by David Cirone
Indie Japanese pop-punk group SpecialThanks’ first full-length CD SEVEN LOVERS builds on the success of their earlier EPs SEVEN COLORS and SEVEN SHOWERS. The 14-track album puts vocalist/guitarist Masaki squarely at the forefront, but benefits from solid instrumental and background vocal support from band-mates Lupin (bass, backing vocals), Sean (guitar, backing vocals) and Nochi (drums).
Opening track “1.2.3! 4.5.6.!” shows off Masaki’s ready-for-anything, spunky attitude (standard for girl-fronted J-punk), but the album confidently shifts to a surprising melody in the next track “You = Music I Love”. This sets the stage for a series of songs revealingSEVEN LOVERS’ overall theme of personal relationships.
The lead single “Hello Colorful” is solid pop, with a chorus that will stick in your head all day. Masaki’s vocals are especially confident here and in the following “Morning Coffee,” where she repeats “I will do better than her” over and over through the song’s climax.
In “He looks tired these days,” Masaki finds clarity in a relationship that may be taking its final turn. Nochi’s drums and Sean’s guitar work add dramatic urgency and finally take over the end of the song where words no longer help the situation.
Just in case you think things have gotten too serious, the short-and-sweet “Make You Happy” shows the band’s aggressive side and slaps you in the face for a minute-and-a-half before making a quick getaway. “My name is SUN” is a trippy detour that betrays a Beatles-leaning sensibility. “Anything” is SEVEN LOVERS’ longest track (over 6 minutes) with a traditional verse/chorus structure, and it’s a credit to the versatilty of the band that it doesn’t seem out of place in an album scattered with power-punk.
With SEVEN LOVERS, SpecialThanks has created a fun and fast-moving album that signals a step forward past their pop-punk roots.
Recommended tracks: Hello Colorful, He looks tired these days, Anything, You = Music I Love