It would be a little silly to give Especia unearned influencer points for the state of Japanese pop music today…but the now-defunct group were way out ahead on the current city-pop-revival that has carved out space in the mainstream. And unlike a lot of the Tumblr-esque recycled moods of bands now scoring theme songs and nationwide tours — not to mention non-Japanese interpretations of the same thing — Especia approached it all from an actually creative angle by way of a pretty unique interpretation of vaporwave filtered by actual Bubble-Era signifiers.
But those days are over, and the members of Especia have all gone off to do other things. Haruka Tominaga recently returned as HALLCA, a new project that sees her reunite with sometimes-Espeica producer PellyColo for a lot of the songs shared thus far. Ahead of her first EP out this Wednesday, she shared “Milky Way,” a PellyColo number that leans a little bit on Especia nostalgia (aided by the producers interpretation of ’80s sounds…that guitar solo!). This is easy-going stuff, offering space for Tominaga to show off her voice, which drifts nicely through the space conjured up on this sparse number. Better numbers can be found on the EP — “Diamond” is the real push forward for her — but this is a solid number to soak in, and one that fulfills some longing for a time now gone. Listen above.