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Anamanaguchi

Endless Fantasy (dream.hax/Alcopop!)

When I was twelve, I experienced a musical awakening. Punk rock materialized in my
life and became the lens through which I would view the world. Twenty years later, an album
appeared that led me to the realization that I’d actually had an epiphany much earlier in life.
Before I was respooling Social Distortion cassettes, I had been blowing in Nintendo cartridges
and cranking the Double Dragon theme on the family Zenith. Although I didn’t know it back in
1988, my musical sensibilities were being cemented as I sat in front of that wood-paneled CRT.
In 2013 Anamanaguchi would build a bridge to unite my seemingly disparate pasts and
reestablish communication with parts of myself I had lost contact with.
Anamanaguchi was on my radar after providing the perfect soundtrack to 2010’s Scott Pilgrim
2D brawler, wherein they expertly captured the scratchy sonic inertia of the nineties. Three years
later though, these masters of their craft took a transcendent leap forward, advancing light years
past homage and emerging as true pioneers. ‘Endless Fantasy’ resurrects sounds of the past and
repurposes them into a supernatural, future-proof something.

(dream.hax/Alcopop!)

You know the feeling you get when an artist makes something so personal, that you believe they must have crafted it just for you? “Surely, they’ve been following me this whole time, documenting my experiences and translating them into song!” That’s my suspicion whenever I throw on this twenty-two track monster. I picked this record because of the feeling it gives me. It unlocks my true vulnerability and exposes me to an ego piercing, full-meter super move that tunnels through grief and taps into the aquifer of innocence deep inside. For seventy-six minutes I forget how jaded I’ve become, and I’m able to reconnect with the kid inside that has no conception of malice, who isn’t burdened by insecurity, and whose sole interest is accompanying Billy and Jimmy Lee in rescuing Marian from gangs of 8-bit thugs.
The instruments and hacked entertainment systems utilized here are a reminder of the
indomitable nature of mankind. Each composition achieves balance between technology and
humanity. There’s something primal existing within the layers of tight sequencing, walls of
snarling bass, and buzzy, saturated guitars. There’s a raw edge of human spirit that holds down
the fort as pitch-perfect Super Nintendo leads thread the needle like a Zen aviator effortlessly
navigating a screen-filling bullet hell. When I hear it, it pilots me to the other side. It rockets me
beyond the Dad Dying level and lands me firmly in Bringing Home a New Puppy With the
Woman I Love Land.
And yeah, this slab of sound carries a sophisticated message, but it’s wrapped in a super
snackable shell. It’s a sweet and savory encounter with the divine. It’s sincere, and unique, but
above all… so much fun. These boys spend hooks like sultans burning through cash… “Don’t
worry, baby. There’s plenty more where that comes from.” Track after track they tease and
jettison sugary, undeniable melodies only to immediately one-up themselves with yet another
juicier, more fleeting chip-based chant. Every song has “that part” that I eagerly anticipate with
each listen.
The whole thing is well-rounded and thoughtfully designed like a game. Levels are well-paced,
and highly explorable. Make no mistake, it’s a heart-pounding, fist-pumping action game that
erupts into large-scale boss battles and leaves you breathless at times; the monosyllabic anthem
“Meow,” is a dopamine-depleting punk casino constructed to overload ancient human circuitry
with its myriad flashing lights and prizes. Between zones though, the campaign is elegantly
punctuated by brief, palette-cleansing interludes that match the playful energy of NPC-rich
villages, providing sanctuary from the uncharted overworld.
It’s a cohesive experience with a distinct call to action, dark night of the soul, and a triumphant
return via “Bosozoku GF” at sixty-eight minutes in. The elixir is in full flow during this
empowering climax, as the hero emerges in slow motion from a burning home safely cradling
unharmed pets. Every second leading up to this phenomenal closing track softens me up to
receive its impact. It rips me wide open and tears away the resentment I cling to. Because of this,
I understand those who concede to the existence of God because they have felt its presence.
Wherever I go, I take this band with an absurd name with me. Whether I’m peeling back
the endless neon of Akihabara, falling in love, or white-knuckling the disintegration of a
relationship, Anamanaguchi’s ‘Endless Fantasy’ has been my roadmap in both times of elation
and devastation. It takes me to. It gets me through. It is the vehicle I climb inside when I need to
be transported to the present moment. It has encouraged me to take risks, and to get out there
and live life. It will continue to move me for as long as I’m alive. After that, please play it at my
funeral and scatter my ashes to “Akira.”
It’s a masterpiece and the embodiment of youth and of hope… two things humanity will
endlessly yearn for. Hamish Patterson says the following near the end of the last track; “Your
natural state is enlightenment. Everything else you’ve ever been told about yourself is a lie.” But
we knew that the moment we put this record on and let it take us for a ride.
The Pride’s Too Damn Late EP is out now.

LA Weekly