Anyone lucky enough to catch veteran rockers MUCC on their latest tours in Japan or Europe, as part of the ‘F#CK THE PAST F#CK THE FUTURE’ campaign, will undoubtedly have noticed a few new tracks in the setlists. Well, as of July 10th in the UK, and similar dates worldwide, these tracks- along with several others- have finally seen their release, in the band’s latest mini album, ‘T.R.E.N.D.Y. – Paradise from 1997 –.’

Continuing with the band’s increasing tendency towards electronica, opening track ‘Suiren’ has a jumping, pounding beat and instrumental. A distinctive Eastern edge to the melodies, atmospheric female vocals and tension-building drums set the track (and much of the album) up in MUCC’s signature style. The breakdown, typically eardrum-smashing, is followed by softer guitars and a focus on Tatsuro’s vocals. ‘Rendez-Vous’ is similarly synthetic, mixing up a fun punky guitar riff with a digital effect-heavy chorus and 8-bit bridge- although on the whole it is much more uplifting than heavy when compared with ‘Suiren’.

However, much of the album takes a different stance, and the band exhibits their love of variety. ‘Dfd (Dreamer from Darkness)’ packs an immediately heavier, more aggressive punch. Crazed vocals are mixed with a more positive-sounding chorus (although the lyrics aren’t all that cheery). The funky middle-eight is the highlight, with great bass and a faster, almost rapping vocal that gives the track a bit of attitude. In contrast, for fans of MUCC’s gentler ballads, ‘Rainbow’ is a smooth, rock-a-bye track that focuses closely on the vocal, although it lacks the interest of the other tracks, being very simple and stripped back.

Get your fix of lost love-lamenting from ‘B.L.U.E Tell me KAFKA’. Don’t ask me what Kafka has to do with it- perhaps some ontological reference that’s going over my head (suggestions welcome!), but the track itself is a fairly exciting listen, if not their best. ‘Hater’ opens with a great marching beat with some dark, distorted riffs interspersed with unconventional instrumental sounds. This track wins the prize for its originality and stands as testament to MUCC’s ongoing experimentation.

The mini album, which overall lives up to its name “trendy” (cringe-worthy as that word may seem to Brits nowadays), being consistently different and current, comes to an end with ‘Tonight’, which along with ‘Suiren’ and ‘Dfd’ was regularly played around Europe. A painfully moving breakdown and doubly-energised final chorus cements another winner for the band.

With this latest release, MUCC continues their paradox- being unsurprising in their surprises; they manage to continually fit in more and more to add to an already very talented and experimental main line-up. This mini album is a consistently good quality and exciting listen, and foretells more first-rate music on their next full album- which hopefully won’t be too long of a wait away.

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