I once brushed off Halcali as typical cutesy stupid J-Pop. Based on a very brief listen to the rap-pop duo’s 2010 album…well, the first track of it anyway…I decided I didn’t need to spend any significant time with this. Then a funny thing happened – karaoke. Two friends sang an endearingly goofy Japanese track that veered awfully close to “The Ketchup Song” but contained such a feel-good energy (plus a cheesy video) that I fell for it right away. “Who does this song,” I asked excitedly, anxious to expand my open-to-J-Pop mind. “Halcali” they said. Wooooooops. Yet their infectious “Tandem” won me over.
Slightly older and presumably wiser, I can now approach the duo’s new single “Roman Hikō ” with an open mind…something I probably couldn’t have had without that faithful trip to the karaoke box. Halcali enlist Your Song Is Good to join them in something that’s at least 80 percent ska…a genre of music I’ve always personally been a little cold to. Yet here the two members of the group decide to skip rapping in order to just sing sugary pop verses over the skankin music and they’ve got me again. This outfit make incredibly loopy pop that seems a little too perked up at times – but somehow comes across as so giddy as to be hard to fend off. So it is with this latest track – enthusiasm plus a hell of a sunny chorus beats out embarrassment. Sometimes you just gotta give yourself over to these things.