On February 14, the visual kei band with traditional Japanese flair D=OUT released their 33rd and 34th singles simultaneously, Ten (天) and Dorobou Neko (泥棒猫). The music videos for the title tracks were also revealed, featuring two looks as different as the singles.

2023 mark’s D=OUT’s 16th anniversary. To top it off, vocalist Kouki Hanamizakura of D=OUT returns to the US in July for Otakon 2023. With these two special events in mind, JROCK NEWS sat down to unpack the dovetailing singles that couldn’t be more different, Ten and Dorobou Neko.


“Dorobou Neko”

In Japanese, the phrase “Dorobou Neko” not only means “thieving cat”—it also refers to an adulterer. This taboo theme, along with the stylized Showa-era costumes piqued our interest, so we decided to jump in starting with the single Dorobou Neko.

Dorobou Neko‘s strength lies in its storytelling. Rather than a rock single, it plays from start to finish like a period piece soundtrack.

From Kouki’s first wistful words, you’re immersed in a Showa-era soundscape. While Kouki’s lyrics set the sepia-tinted scene, guitarists Ibuki and Hikaru build the soft melody, with a plucking technique reminiscent of the shamisen. Drummer Naoto provides a march-like percussion, then transitions to a gentle rapping of cymbals, sparkling like falling rain. Bassist Reika lends a jazzy and sensual bassline, fitting the bittersweet theme. All of this is backed by a romantic string arrangement.

You can check out the song lyrics in the description of the official music video, below.

【最新曲】ダウト / 泥棒猫【Official Video】

Dorobou Neko was paired with coupling tracks Haikei, ano hi no boku (拝啓、あの日の僕), and Imitation Mirage (イミテーション・ミラージュ).

Dorobou Neko flows well into Haikei, ano hi no boku with a bittersweet string intro. Suddenly, the melody explodes into fireworks of electric guitars and charged drums. From the title, we expected a tender, reflective ballad but it was surprisingly fast-paced, with invigorating guitar solos.

Finally, Imitation Mirage dives into the playful, jazzy D=OUT that we know and love. Its fast-paced chaos sounds like being twirled around on a dancefloor, or how a record feels when spinning at a party. It takes us back to D=OUT’s 2021 single, Odoro.

“Ten”

While Dorobou Neko seems like an elegant older sibling, Ten seems like its plucky younger brother. Ten brings out another side of D=OUT with positive, energizing, and fresh intensity.

Fans of a more straightforward, cohesive pop-rock album will prefer Ten over the more thematic Dorobou Neko. Rather than focusing on the atmosphere, this single showcases the band’s technical prowess with rapid-picking guitar solos and explosive, electronic-backed choruses.

【最新曲】ダウト / 天【Official Video】

Coupling tracks Versus (バーサス) and SLDK continue in the same vein with peppy, electric melodies. Versus introduces aggressive metal growls, with distorted guitars and rapid drums at the forefront. Then, SLDK pumps the brakes on this fast-paced single, slowing down into an introspective piece. SLDK definitely rounds out Ten as a whole, balancing it in sound and theme.


Both singles mesh well as a mini-album, showing all the different angles and abilities of this renowned band. Both play out like soundtracks of two completely different series, the first a forlorn period drama, the second, a youthful and scrappy shounen anime.

No matter how different they may be, the compositions have all the hallmarks of D=OUT—jazzy choruses, colorful melodies, and dynamic compositions. Playful and energetic tracks are well balanced by nostalgic, lovelorn ballads, providing something for everyone. D=OUT continues to be a musical chameleon, morphing and reincarnating themselves as they please to fill out any genre they take on.

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CD
  1. Dorobou Neko
    泥棒猫
  2. Haikei, ano hi no boku
    拝啓、あの日の僕
  3. Imitation Mirage
    イミテーション・ミラージュ
CD
  1. Dorobou Neko
    泥棒猫
  2. Imitation Mirage
    イミテーション・ミラージュ
DVD
  1. Dorobou Neko music video and making of
CD
  1. Ten
  2. Versus
    バーサス
  3. 1SLDK
CD
  1. Ten
  2. 1SLDK
DVD
  1. Ten music video and making of
D=OUT:
Twitter Kouki
Twitter Ibuki
Twitter Hikaru
Twitter Reika
Twitter Naoto
Instagram Kouki
Instagram Hikaru