Sometime last year, I came across a cool MV on YouTube by this band. I loved the songwriting, presentation and style & was immediately hooked. The Heanacat are a goth-styled Japanese melodic hard rock duo that describe themselves as "Gothic Romantic", which is the perfect depiction of their sound.
After coming across digital versions of their albums, I ordered a CD copy of お楽しみ箱～モノクロの虹 or "Fun Box - Monochrome Rainbow" which is the latest in a series of albums with the "Fun Box" title (the previous titles being "FB-Light blue Tears" & "FB-Dyed Bright Red"). The band consists of Hiroko aka Hi-Chan (Vocals/Guitar/Keys) and Chino (Bass/Chorus) with various support drummers on the record.
The album starts out with 開幕 (Kaimaku) a short instrumental intro that leads into アソビタイ(Asobitai), one of the top tracks on the record and a great song to kick off this collection. I can imagine how fun it would be to experience Asobitai live. The next song is 負けずぎらい (Makezugirai) and right from the get-go you can hear the strong & confident songwriting present all over this disc. Hi-Chan is a smooth & powerful vocalist and the instrumentation is both catchy and intricate. They are very good players.
るるる (Ru Ru Ru) is an energetic gothic "banger". The next section of songs is a series of slower-tempo numbers that help push the emotional "rainbow" mentioned in the title of the record. The presentation is monochrome, but this rainbow is actually full of colors. This string starts with 欲望(Yokubou), shifts into わかれみち (Wakare Michi) and ends with ばらーど (Ballad). These three tracks are very different, but do a good job of displaying the blend of gothic and Showa type sounds The Heanacat are really good at combining.
一言言わせて好きですと (Hitokotoiwasete Suki Desu to) is a playful and emotional song that varies the album's song styles even further. わがまま (Wagamama/Self Indulgence) is one of my favorite tracks. By the time this song comes on in the track list, I always have a deeper appreciation for what a great vocalist and songwriter Hi-Chan is.
アーケード (Arcade) is a deep, yet upbeat track with a really beautiful bridge/breakdown. Chino sounds as if she's having a lot of fun playing the bass line on this one. She has a very cool bass playing style. Next is ヒーナキャット (Heana Cat), an electro-laced rocker that will 100% get stuck in your head (like a lot of the tracks on this disc).
One of the singles released before the album came out was ロックはバニラ味 (Vanilla Flavor Rock). In the US, referring to things as "Vanilla" is usually an insult implying something is flavorless or plain, but this track is anything but those things. It's another solid, high-energy song under their belt (with a cute title). The album closes with パズル (Puzzle), probably the most blatantly goth track on the record. I love the intro and on any given night, you may or may not catch me casting some kind of spell while blasting this song as I work in my studio.
Unfortunately, Chino will be leaving the band soon, but I can't wait to see what each member does from here on out. Please support this band.
The Heanacat info~