Over the last month, Sapporo’s Nonsense Love Letter has shared two albums of bedroom pop, and approaching it felt a little bit intimidating. These aren’t quickly uploaded EPs, but fully realized releases touching on a bunch of styles, while being full of clever wordplay and an air of intimacy, like walking into someone’s living room and finding them writing poetry. But entered I did with Winter Alayz, an eight-song collection offering a concise look into Nonsense Love Letter’s world. Like a lot of young artists this decade, that place has been shaped by Etsuko Yakushimaru. “Lonely You Lonely Me” immediately showcases Nonsense Love Letter’s similarly high-pitched speak-sing, set over a rubbery rock backdrop accented by handclaps. It’s a style the band revisits frequently, such as on the slower “Linus” to the skippier “Bus Stop.” But then you get detours, like the sample-loaded space-out of “Vib-Ribbon,” which pummels ahead on a drum machine beat. Threaded throughout are lyrics that turn the everyday into something more. Get it here, or listen below.
Love Letter From Nonsense Love Letter goes in even more directions, showing more depth. Opener “Fushigi Na Wagon” teases a Shibuya-kei-derived stroll, interrupted by some electronic chirps, while “Harry Potter Potage” is…basically the same song, but now with Hogwarts-friendly lyrics. It’s a trip! This set feels a bit more ramshackle, more a collection of ideas that sometime result in great pop (“Oyasumi Zombie”) while others feel like half-folded pieces of construction paper. Yet it still adds further context to a project to keep an eye on. Get it here, or listen below.