When I first discovered ZOMBIE CHANG, she was an edgy, hard edged folk musician who’s approach wasn’t exactly easy for everyone to take in. Needless to say this appealed to me quite a lot, and I was a pretty big fan of her first mini album “Atashi wa Nan desu ka“. After this release, she took a break (occasionally uploading a demo on her Soundcloud) and by the time she officially returned to the music scene, had changed her look and approach immensly. Her free digital EP “Koi no Vacances” was a major departure from that original sound and ventured into the world of electronic music- and she did it perfectly. It was truly one of the biggest surprises of last year, and managed to delight a much larger audience without losing her indie sensibilities. Her new LP, ZOMBIE-CHANGE is a further step in this direction, and it’s particularly exhilarating to listen to.
What ZOMBIE CHANG has created with ZOMBIE CHANGE is a series of catchy, electronic driven tunes that would rest easy on the palettes of Western audiences. She has managed to free herself from the trappings of being labelled “J“- I can easily imagine this album sitting right alongside the best of the western alternative industry (the somewhat popular “Grimes” comparisons seem even more spot-on with this particular album), and could potentially reach an audience there (if they were willing to let the language barrier slide that is). Songs float along with a wonderfully carefree attitude- bringing back memories of the golden age of MTV. Quite a lot of shoe-gaze elements resonate throughout its warm electronic dissonance- ZOMBIE CHANG’s vocals are simultaneously distant and right next to you. She doesn’t try to hide that she’s not Mariah Carey but it really doesn’t matter- her genuine delivery is far more appealing than being too busy searching for the next note. You can tell she is fully invested in her project- rubbing off very well onto the listener, making for a truly memorable experience.
There are some real standout tracks throughout, including the pulsing, hard hitting opening title track, faux-hip hop inspired “PMS“- that delights with it’s old school beat, bright and bubbly “WASURETA“, absolute banger “YOU AND HURTS” and the crowning touch- the moody, brooding “KURIKAESHITERU“- that would fit easily along the best of avant-garde artist PHEW. The truth of the matter though, is that there are no tracks that don’t inspire some kind of awe here. ZOMBIE-CHANG has crafted a wonderfully diverse and easy flowing gem of an album that demands the listener’s attention and doesn’t let go until the last track is over. It’s inspired, playful and downright lovely. I am amazed.
ZOMBIE CHANGE ultimately is an album that further enhances the cool, adorable image that ZOMBIE-CHANG has created for herself- a highly addictive and gratifying listen that flows as smooth as hot butter. “CHANGE” indeed is the name of the game here- and the staggering juxtaposition between this and her debut album could not be more jarring. Jarring to the point where that hard hitting, crusty, sharp edged folk artist that once was has now transformed into a beautiful, trendy, totally hip indie pop butterfly– and has delivered the first amazing Japanese album of this year. Highly recommended- even to those that didn’t like her original sound.
9/10. All killer, no filler, ZOMBIE-CHANGE is a guaranteed winner!