Asian Kung-Fu Generation – Mada Minu Ashita Ni

Posted by Sandstorm in Reviews on March 15th, 2009.
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Asian Kung-Fu Generation has had quite a productive year in 2008. They recorded and published a very good album in March and later on released an additional mini-album (or EP) in June and a second concept album in November. I got the last two albums in November and listened to them a lot of times, and now, after nearly 5 months I’ve found the time to write the review for one of them: Mada Minu Ashita Ni

As all of you know, bands write a lot more songs during the writing of a new album than the songs that are eventually released on the album. The songs on the album are, at least in the bands eyes, the best of those songs, or the songs fit the best in the concept of the album. Sometimes however, these “leftover” songs still sound great and then it’s just a waste of art to put them on the shelves to rot.

All the songs on this second EP were written or at least thought of during the time of the recording of the album World, World, World (source: Wikipedia). The songs on this EP describe life on this earth, and the theme is more present in each song on this EP than it was in the songs on the Album. On the full album some songs that were written earlier (like Aru Machi No Gunjou) broke the concept of the album a little bit. That isn’t the case on this EP which results in a somewhat more cohesive and more epic experience.

Mini-album with a Huge sound
Musically the EP is very different from the full album. All the songs on the EP sound very epic in comparison to the album, and you really will wonder why the heck they didn’t put these songs on the full album.
The first song Myaku Utsu seimei (or Pulsating Life in English) opens the album in a grandiose way. It has a rich sound and a fast pace which keeps the energy going all way through the song. The Ajikan style (a simple repeating guitar melody with chords and a rich bassline and great drums underneath) is back and sounds better than ever. A beautiful softish part in the middle and a banging riff and build-up to the last chorus complete this flawless song that successfully opens the album.

Science Fiction is the track that follows and it is in my honest opinion the weakest song on the album. It sounds good, but not nearly as good as some of the other songs on this album.

The third song Mustang is the only single that was released from this EP, and it’s no wonder that they chose this one. The sound of the song is very epic, and every part of it seems to fit perfectly. Also Mustang contains lyrics like “…Adding to the future with a paintbrush, We’re the ones that pollute the world” and “The May rain mirroring my heart may eventually cease to weep, Drizzling rain brushing against my cheek steadily washes the day away” which are among the most beautiful lyrics Ajikan has ever written and if you know their older work, you know that says something.

The next song Shin Kokyu (Deep Breath) is a song with a very distinct sound and it builds up to a very nice chorus and ends in a jazzy outro. The song fits perfectly as a very nice intermezzo in between the slower paced song Mustang and Yuusetsu, which is again a very fast paced song, with a nice riff at its base. All the little guitar details in between the riffage make this song a must listen, and the chorus is, yet again, marvellous.

The last song Mada Minu Ashita Ni (Into an Unseen Tomorrow) is the title track and opens with very cool warped drums. The bass in this song is beautiful and a relaxed vibe is varied with the very much up-paced chorus and at the end of the song the bridge with a very nice guitar riff followed by a softer part (bridge part b) with a nice guitar melody build up to the last chorus after which the song ends with a very nice outro with superb drumming and a nice bass part to end this mini-album in it’s own characteristic way.

Something I said before in the review of World. World. World, is that the packaging of the AKFG albums is so great. The artwork is beautiful and the booklet is yet again printed on beautiful high quality paper. It would be a great if some western bands would copy this from the Japanese music industry, because great artwork and high quality packaging really adds something to the experience and the albums of Ajikan are proof of that.

Mini album owns Full album
Ajikan proves once again that they are not just a band that once donated a song to an anime, but that they can compete with a lot of western bands due to their great song-writing skills. This EP is in fact better than the full album they released earlier in 2008, because of the higher density of good songs on this album and the coherence of this album; the songs really fit. The only letdown on the EP is the song science fiction, which really isn’t very special, but yet another good song. I also hope that on the next album Ajikan will experiment more with the new sounds (the use of the warped drums, the jazzy outro etc.) because they show with the songs on this album that they can improve their own song-writing in that way. Ajikan has always written top-notch songs but with the last album they might have got to the point that they needed to change their sound a little to do something better and while that album was good, this EP is much better and in that way a very good start of what may be an(other) evolution of Ajikan.

PS. The reason that the rating is the same as the rating of World, World, World is that after a lot more listens I feel that Worldx3 is only worth a 7.5, because of the fact that some songs actually can get quite boring after a lot of listens, and this isn’t the case on the EP. I can’t alter the score I gave to World x 3 so I hope you’ll understand.

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