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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is one of an elite selection of artists that warrants the title of phenomenon. In a career spanning little over 4 years, she’s been lauded as everything from the Japanese equivalent to Lady Gaga – largely due to her emphasis on eccentric costumes – to a one-time viral sensation as a result of her breakout track ‘Pon Pon Pon’, a quirky take on kawaii culture that’s stacked upwards of 67 million views on YouTube. Regardless of individual stances on the youthful vocalist, her position as one of modern day pop music’s most idiosyncratic performers is indisputable.

Pika Pika Fantajin serves as the culmination of the boundless chemistry shared between Pamyu and her long-time collaborator Yasutaka Nakata, the man that for the entire length of her career has shaped Pamyu’s fantastical musical visions into illustrious realities. Whereas previous endeavours were intent on experimenting with Western electronic music trends such as dubstep, …Fantajin is comparatively a more concise and refined effort, accentuating the sugarcoated electro-pop stylings most typically associated with Pamyu whilst exemplifying more organic traits such as the regal marching band drumming that regularly make an appearance within her music. The likes of ‘Yume no Hajima Ring Ring’ and ‘Mottai-Nightland’ are triumphantly colourful bursts of saccharine pop that rattle off some of her most compelling hooks to date, tackling harrowing subject matter such as Pamyu’s anxieties and fears in a playfully exquisite manner that neatly juxtaposes the lyrical content. Elsewhere, tracks such as the nursery rhyme-like ‘Ring A Bell’ showcase Pamyu at her most simplistic, boosting the contagious qualities of her vocal lines at the risk of sounding juvenile, a trade off that ultimately works in her favour.

Although the majority of …Fantajin is an airtight utopia crammed full of melodic delight, the latter half of the album occasionally showcases the one fleeting flaw that lies in its creators’ inability to show restraint when it comes to their extravagant inventions. ‘Tokyo Highway’ and its inoffensive dabbling in the faded world of EDM, for instance, sprawls so outlandishly far out in length that it teeters on the edge of mundane, and the repetitive ‘Koi Koi Koi’ is a rare blunder in which Nakata and Pamyu’s magnetic charm fails to captivate.

Rife with imagination and creative depth, …Fantajin is the most detailed and precise portrait of Pamyu’s fantasy image to date, successfully strengthening her melodic prowess whilst retaining her ability to inject toxic attributes into the most carefree of musical landscapes.

Joshua Pauley

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