The recent boom in electronic music in the Kansai area has thus far mostly been a story of individual producers, solo artists rapidly uploading new blasts of music to SoundCloud as fast as their Internet connection allows them to. Although a few places serve as gathering points for this scene – the parties put on by INNIT and producer Seiho’s label Day Tripper records just to name two examples – the majority of the work has been flowing from individual sources who sometime converge. Yet one exception exists, one that seemed lost in the whirl of great releases coming out last year – Sugar’s Campaign, a group featuring scene staples Avec Avec and the aforementioned Seiho, plus two other dudes. Back in 2011, Sugar’s Campaign was just an origin story, a nice little touch to add to articles about Avec or Seiho.
Yet out of nowhere, Sugar’s Campaign released a new song called “Netokano” last Friday, a track with one eye trained on the blooming Kansai electronic scene but existing well outside of the often spacey directions the artists there take. The opening “la la las” bring to mind the choir chirping of Passion Pit, but that American group indulges in a twee maximalism that turns nearly all their songs into Up With People taffy. Sugar’s Campaign slow things down after the initial vocal blast, though, settling into a grooveable pace suitable for the poppy crooning going off above it. Flashes of Avec Avec’s “Kuzuha No Sunday” break through, the chorus bringing to mind the sun blasts of that song. Yet this isn’t like the experimental music coming out of the INNIT camp – this is pure, unfiltered pop, and even at times striking one as contemporary J-Pop taken into more interesting directions (the fact the pre-chorus bit brings Hikaru Utada’s “First Love” to mind drills this home further). Avec and Seiho have flashed moments of pop smarts in their music, and here’s the confirmation, two geniuses coming together to piece together a pop gem. Listen above, and watch the Coca-Cola-rich video too.