“the devil is here, right here, living in the bathroom mirror”
Who: emaru & asahsi
What: dream pop, indietronica, little shadows here and there
Where: tokyo, japan
Why: macaroom are now a lowercase outfit. spreading meaning, intent and power evenly and reservedly. the opening lines of album opener “akauma” speaks of devils like it speaks of plants and windy days by lazy streams. even punctuation seems unnecessary in the soft and unspecific world of swimming classroom
The duo’s signature avant-garde pop music, which they had been refining for almost a decade, came to an end this year. A journey that had lead them from the inauspicious release of their debut album Room-103 in 2010, which struggled to push J-pop anywhere it hadn’t gone before, to the sprawling masterwork of last year’s soundtrack cage out. An album of 9 minute progressive pop epics and revolutionary soundscapes, one which demanded an end to all journeys and directions for Macaroom. There and back again and then into the book it goes.
Imagine the worlds surprise when Macaroon reemerged, like a blossoming flower, simplistic and earnestly beautiful. Entwining within their backward pop-sense a dreamy reservation that all but killed their artistic severity. Swimming Classroom struggles to understand pop in the conventional modes we might interact with it, shuffling between odd song breaks and repetitive house breakdowns, but it wants to genuinely achieve it and the striking heart to these songs wins over their own countenance. Pushing subtle indietronica and dream pop to emotional crescendos and spacious releases regardless of the genres aversion to it.
Where just last year songs might be titled “Branches + Song Books (Solo For 8, 50, 84, 91)”, Swimming Classroom‘s titles barely ever pass one word, or else form real and coherent thoughts like “the door swung softly” or “naked lunch”. Commingling with the album’s baby blue and eggshell white cover, and the albums unpretentious affectations, it becomes a potent paste of warmth, worth injecting directly into the stomach.