One of J-Rock heavyweight Bump Of Chicken’s strongest qualities, aside from a goof-tastic name, is their ability to convey a very specific emotion through their music. Read that last sentence literally – Bump do one feeling really well, and I’m not sure if they can come close to capturing other ones (joy, anger, stubbed-toe frustration). This definitely makes them standout in the boring mud of mainstream J-Rock, where getting any sort of reaction from the music beyond “this is a copy of a copy of a copy” frustration should be applauded.
The emotion in the spotlight isn’t simple to describe, halfway between nostalgic pining and coming to grips with growing up with a smile spread out on your face (it’s the perfect soundtrack to a high school graduation, way better than Vitamin C). “Uchuu Hikoushi e no Tegami” predictably nails this…Bump bring out the dramatic guitar playing better suited for the climax of a coming-of-age film and use it to craft an always-rising track that peaks with shimmering electronics. It’s a potentially dangerous combination – shooting for all this drama could easily have landed the song into the dreaded “Japanese ballad” dumpster – but Bump have become masters at milking this sort of big-moment rock to its fullest. Of course, being a big Bump Of Chicken song, it goes on a little too long and features a few gag-worthy moments (guitar solo, I see ya). But that’s one of the aspects that make Bump Of Chicken great J-Rock.
Also of note, the video attached to “Uchuu Hikoushi e no Tegami” stands as one of the better clips of the year. Yeah, it’s a little cheesy at time…like the song…but overall a sweet little video.