CHAI – PUNK
Confidently taking on everything from rave rock to rose-tinted tropic-pop and with former singles trashing tired beauty tropes, CHAI tackle our stereos – and societal stereotypes – head on
It’s all too easy to dismiss CHAI as some pseudo-Shonen Knife punk pastiche. The band – made up of identical twin sisters Mana (keys and lead vocals) and Kana (on guitar), Yuna (drums) and Yuuki (bass) – are oft-decked out in colourful garbs blasting out songs jam-packed with eccentric eclecticism. But you're more likely to find CHAI taking their cues from N.E.R.D and Basement Jaxx than NOFX and Bad Religion. Busting onto the Tokyo scene a few years ago, where all four band members relocated to become full-time musicians, debut PINK was rereleased via Heavenly Records in October last year.
It's a fitting title considering, much like Meghan Markle and that gender-neutral nursery, CHAI have spoken at length about our socio normative assumptions when it comes to the colour. In conversation with Pitchfork, bass player Yuuki admits: "In Japan, there is this cultural understanding that as you grow older, pink is not the colour for you. We want people to know it's a cool colour and it shows woman power." From PINK to PUNK then, as the band waste no time in putting out another full-length on the same label this Spring; a genre-smashing assault of the senses and one of those excellent indie records that barely touches the 30 minute marker. Confidently taking on everything from the rave rock of Enter Shikari (GREAT JOB) to Paramore-plucked, rose-tinted tropic-pop (Wintime), and with former singles trashing tired beauty tropes, the band tackle our stereos – and societal stereotypes – head on.
Midpoint THIS IS CHAI is a mental Europop clattering of relentless drum beats and vintage horns (no, really) as the band manically spell out their name. Oceans away from the slinky surf guitar of Fashionista which isn't too dissimilar to former tour pals, Superorganism. Taking a bit of a breather, woozy soft synths ease in for Feel the BEAT only to be thrust back into the throng for Curly Adventure – a stadium singalong fit for Foals and so big you can almost see the confetti cannon.
Chuck in those promised synchronised dance moves and it's almost too much. New cute or not, CHAI make a pretty strong blend of all the best bits.
Listen to: CHOOSE GO!, GREAT JOB, Wintime