THE PUFFY is a triumphant, exhilarating return from one of the most iconic duos in J-pop history. You won’t be able to NOT smile listening to this short, sweet trip of pop punk, timeless vocals, fantastic guitar work that just pops and the nostalgic feelings for the golden era of Japanese pop rock that this album brings crashing to the forefront. If you’re not bopping along to the bouncy hooks, you might just be uttering an audible ‘awww’.
This album really affected me a lot more strongly than usual, it felt like a pick me up on a bad day, or a cup of hot chocolate on a winter’s night. I’m sure the nostalgia berries are working in it’s favour; but simultaneously, PUFFY have never really aimed to be more than the sum of their parts. Surprisingly this approach has kept them fresh and this return album is no different. They really work with familiarity in a way that is sublime.
It’s not to say that the entire album is traditional pop punk- PUFFY here have also introduced some more modern sounds to mix things up (electronic beats, trap, even a tinge of Kpop), but their old school sensibilities really are the glue that holds the album together. It’s nice to see this balanced reached, without sacrificing any of the identity that have made them so beloved with fans over their career. Other styles they touch on range from 60s surf rock and SKA, right up to the closer- a really cute showtune that absolutely hits all the right spots.
Production is excellent all across the board, the album really shines, instruments are all really well balanced and the vocals are recorded perfectly. It feels like the duo haven’t aged a day since their last outing, and it’s really easy to feel like you’ve been transported back to their heyday. There isn’t a single track I’d skip, and it’s fairly brief runtime really makes it a great album for repeat visitations. It’s also one you can pick up and play at anytime, there’s nothing too demanding here at all. Just good vibes.
9/10 It’s hard to imagine any old-school PUFFY fan finding anything to complain about with this one, for a newcomer it’s a wonderful crash course in how Jpop used to be.