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“STAY HOME”. The first song title pretty much says it all. Who can forget those ominous two words when the pandemic hit? The first lyrics to hit on ZOMBIE-CHANG‘s fourth album are literally “WHERE IS MY TOILET PAPER”, which instantly brings back those memories of mass panic buying and toilet paper hoarding. The album title itself is a desperate cry “TAKE ME AWAY FROM TOKYO” from a young woman who yearns to be outside doing what she needs to do.

An album recorded over a series of weeks in isolation, originally called the “?” project, hits differently to anything that has come before from ZOMBIE-CHANG. It’s her hardest sounding beat wise, and also her most sobering. While there are definitely hints of her dry wit and humour, mostly its a reflection of the shit show that is 2020 and is her way of coping with the enormity of the situation.

A lot of the albums that have been inspired by COVID-19 and isolation have been very focused on the human emotions around it. ZOMBIE-CHANG opts for the mechanical, technological elements. (“We can be, online!”) Instead of giving us a series of beautiful (although there are definitely a few beautiful moments), introverted songs, she gives us cold, abrasive and mechanical (“ROCK SCISSORS PAPER“) sounding tracks. It’s a very unique take on the ‘isolation’ album, and often, like being in self isolation, there are moments where ZOMBIE-CHANG feels to have gone insane, as the album reaches its most amelodic, cold, digital moments. Hell, there’s moments that become undeniably frustrating and monotonous -see the track “RESPAWN” for example- which just make the album hit home that much harder. (It must be mentioned that there is one track that does offer some relief from the chaos, and that’s the calming, beautiful “GIANT PANDA“).

Because of the concept, the album really works best as a whole, which is an easy ask being it a focussed 32 minutes. Due to it’s nature, it’s also quite rough around the edges compared to previous ZOMBIE-CHANG works, but in a way, this really makes this one standout more. It gives the listener a reminder of ZOMBIE-CHANG’s freak folk origins too, which she has all but buried completely until now; so it’s nice to hear a bit of that side of her peeking through the cracks. It’s a dissonant work that will no doubt challenge some listeners wanting her more trademark sound. However, if you have the patience, it’s a truly rewarding and darkly comforting album. (SOURCE)

Tracklist:

1.Stay Home
2.Caffeine & Nicotine
3.Je ne sais pas
4.Rock Scissors Paper
5.Respawn
6.Snooze
7.Gold Trance
8.Take Me Away From Tokyo
9.Giant Panda
10.美しい愛の日々

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars