WACK superstars Chittiii, Atsuko, Momoko, Lingling, Aina and Ayuni D are back with their latest album CARROTS and STiCKS, their first album release since 2017’s THE GUERRiLLA BiSH. The album features a mix of industrial rock, punk rock and pop ballads, experimental ventures and the energy that every BiSH fan needs.
03. MORE THAN LiKE
04. FREEZE DRY THE PASTS
06. I am me.
07. NO SWEET
08. O・S リンリン
13. CAN YOU??
14. GRUNGE WORLD
The album opens with their latest release DiSTANCE, a melancholic ballad set for one-half energetic rock and one-half acoustic undertone. The vocals are pronounced during the verses, but can feel relegated to the back during the chorus, becoming almost distorted. The song itself is a satisfying piece, but would probably have been better placed further into the album.
The second track (Finally Dead), should possibly have been the opening track, due to its immediate energy and powerful delivery – reminiscent of their early days, this track would have felt at home on their 2016 ‘FAKE METAL JACKET’ album. Distorted vocals appear again on this track, but it feels almost intentional as opposed to the previous track.
MORE THAN LiKE, carries an uplifting melody, with tone changes throughout the song that match the vocal structure. The vocals are clean, but sometimes rushed to keep in time with the tune. This is likely to be the track to play throughout the summer.
Possibly one of the weaker tracks on this album, due to its over-saturated distortion effects, FREEZE DRY THE PASTS, opens to an industrial sound, similar to a Garbage song, with a distorted effect on the verses and a heavy, distorted chorus. Featuring out-of-tune guitar picks, it appears to be one of their more experimental tracks.
In contrast to their previous track, the fifth track, DROP, kicks straight into a techno-dance rhythm, sounding like a mix between TORIENA, PassCode and Neko96. The vocals are clean, but tinted with a slight glitch effect that fades the volume slightly. One of the most enjoyable tracks for its sharp contrast from its surrounding songs – though I can’t imagine it being popular enough to get it’s own MV.
I am me., is reminiscent of a SHISHAMO track, with a slap-style guitar sound adding to a summer-style track that feels energetic and uplifting. The vocals are clear and the beat is catchy, it’s clear to see why they felt this deserved it’s own MV.
In their sentimental ballad, NO SWEET, we are able to hear their vocal and pitch strength, where the softness of the lyric delivery is matched by an emotional overtone. If you enjoy ballads, then this is definitely one of the albums standalone tracks, that holds replayability.
With the obligatory ballad out of the way, they fly into the punk rock-infused O・S リンリン, slightly distorted vocals lead the way into a rapid rhythm and a nu-metal style rock/rap lyric delivery. This song sounds very much like it could have been a BiS track, with a GANG PARADE post-chorus cheer, but with BiSH’s signature style. This track is one of the standalone tracks for its replayability, with its emphasis on the strong vocal strength and clear sound.
Your だ 途中, is your more typical WACK song that we’ve come to expect. A fast-paced rock track, with a middle-of-the-road singing style, which could be used as an opening song for (Insert any current Anime here). A nice track, but possibly just a filler track, unless you listen to it enough times.
優しいPAiN opens with a nice electric guitar kickback solo, but overemphasis on the drums almost drowns out the vocals, which again sound slightly distorted as though they were using an old microphone. As with the previous track, it doesn’t hold much replayability, but does feel somewhat nostalgic, as though designed to fit into that late 1990s / early 2000’s rock playlist.
It takes a few listens to figure out the style they were going for in track 11, but though feels a little unstructured in its design, the fast-paced, pronounced vocals and sporadic mixture in both heavy and soft rhythm, create a song that takes the listener back to those early BiSH days, when KiLLER BiSH was released. A great punk track that will have you tapping your feet at the very least.
Experimental track FiNALLY, has vibes or nu-metal, glitch-pop and rap, which surprisingly work well enough together to create a solid style. It’s one of the more interesting tracks on the album and holds replayability – possibly one that would be great to have an MV for to better understand.
Penultimate track ‘CAN YOU ??’ is a catchy, punk rock with impressive vocal delivery. A positive, uplifting summer sound. Best heard in the car, loud and with the windows down.
GRUNGE WORLD, the final track on the album, is as far away from the title as could be, with an Ai Otsuka-style sound, a catchy, upbeat melody and melancholic vocals, it would be well next to ‘I am me.’ . Considering the rambunctious style of the album, it’s an interesting choice for an ending song, as it doesn’t quite end on a note to suggest the album is over.
CARROTS and STiCKS is best described as a mixed bag of conflicting sounds, set to the signature BiSH vocals. It’s an interesting album which attempts to break new ground and experiment with different styles, which is refreshing as considering BiSH’s popularity, some record producers and companies can be hesitant in breaking the conventional ‘mould’.
Its biggest criticism is that at times it can appear distorted, most likely due to the microphone levels in the recording studio, giving it a bit of a low-quality and frankly, a low-budget effect. It’s not clear if this is intentional, to feel more indie to appeal to new fans, or whether it’s been rushed to fill the gap between the current BiS releases. This distortion effect doesn’t ruin the album in any way, it just doesn’t feel as polished as previous BiSH releases post-2016.
Overall, it’s a strong album, but one which could have been a full album from the start and released as a full entity, without the need to release the separate ‘STiCKS’ and ‘CARROTS’ EPs, which feel like they only served to bridge the gap and may have unintentionally spoiled any great anticipation surrounding the release.
CARROTS and STiCKS is now available for purchase online, such as CD Japan.