CHAI have announced details of their second album “PUNK”, which will be released digitally/ on CD (15 March) and vinyl (5 May).
CHAI bring you album 2 ‘PUNK’. The band may worship at the altar of kawaii – their homeland’s culture of cute – but they’re not about to be pushed around by the idle bosses and the ignorant patriarchy.
The ultra-concise garage-pop race of their debut LP PINK is about to be overhauled on their new album.
CHAI are ready to light the fuse; CHAI are PUNK.
“’PUNK’ for us, of course, is not the genre of music” say the band. “‘PUNK’ to us is to overturn the worn-out values associated with ‘kawaii’ or ‘cute’ created up until this point. ‘PUNK’ is a word that expresses a strong sense of self. To be yourself more, to become the person you truly want to be, to believe in yourself in every instance!”
First single ‘Fashionista’ is a rebellious demand for self-acceptance in the face of society’s pressures: “Even if you don’t dress or do your makeup like how society expects you too, you’re still a “Fashionista” by expressing yourself how you want to. You decide what you want to wear, how you want to look, what you don’t want to wear, and that is what makes you a Fashionista!”
It’s revolution, CHAI explain, but also evolution – their rebellious streak was always there in the dazzling technicolour of PINK searing spots in your eyes and their expectation-defying live shows. Bassist Yuuki explains: “‘PUNK’ was what we had been doing all along – not caring about what people think and instead showing everyone who we are and what our music is. That’s ‘PUNK’. This whole time our concept of your ‘complexes being art’ and ‘changing the norm’ was ‘PUNK’ all along.”
This realisation fuses CHAI’s new work with a desire to take life by the reigns and take control of their own destinies.
Lead singer and keyboardist Mana reflects this mood, this search for something heavier, but still retaining their ultra-pop framework. Maybe it’s the huge success in their native Japan, or even their cult status in the UK, touring alongside Superorganism last year – whatever the reason, there’s a silent change. She adds: “We feel a stronger sense of self… we want to create music with deeper meaning, we want to release more of our individuality”.
This inner strength comes out in the music. If PINK was a plastic, hyper-bright introduction then PUNK is a deeper, less blinding but more impactful graduation. It’s the movement from vivid orange to slow-burning red. Drummer Yuna adds: “Compared with our first album, PUNK represents a more concentrated version of all of our individualities”.
Or as guitarist Kana puts it: “Everything has a PUNCH!”
Yuuki crafted the irrepressible album sleeve, with a laughing girl bursting through a shell. The message, they say, is clear: “Hello, New Me!” You under-estimate CHAI at your peril.
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CHAI’s new album “PUNK” is due for release 15 March via Heavenly Recordings.
The band will play SXSW 2019 and will announce new UK live dates shortly.