This week, Suiyoubi No Campanella’s major label debut comes out via Warner Japan, and…even though I was definitely later to this artist than many others (thanks Tumblr!)…this situation is something fans of many artists before and many in the future will deal with. The weird excitement of seeing just how an artist you’ve backed for a while does on a perceived larger level, and the nagging worry that they are going to fuck it all up. On a level-headed read of the situation, I don’t think the jump to Warner is going to suddenly cause a sudden shift in style aimed at pleasing the masses — you don’t recruit Matthewdavid and Brandt Brauer Frick if you want to be the next Nishino Kana. And a song like “Tsuchinoko,” which just got a video today ahead of the trio’s new album, isn’t any sort of radical departure — it is the sort of future-garage-pop that they’ve embraced on “Medusa” and “Napoleon.”
Yet that is where a more deserving concern, at least to me, emerges: will a major label limit just what Suiyoubi No Campanella could do? “Tsuchinoko” is a solid song in the sense that it is very much a Suiyoubi No Campanella song — it has the same sound complete with house piano lines, it has a mix of sing-speak and rap about places in Tokyo, and sticky production tricks. It is as close to a “Suiyoubi No Campanella” song as Suiyoubi No Campanella can get, and while there’s nothing wrong with that for the most part (still solid, still hits a lot of the same buttons), that creeping worry of them losing their surprise element appears. Because even when they made pretty obvious stabs at something mainstream, they caught you off guard in the details (and, like, watching them live…Komuai scaling up various structures seems like an apt metaphor for their sound). This is a bit more straightforward, and while I don’t mind it, I see where worries could bubble up.
Of course, the actual test comes in two days when the album comes out, so maybe this is all needless. Listen above.