Gen Xrs should?ve seen this one coming. By now, everyone?s heard notorious pieces of massively downloaded, mediocre techno pap that unimaginatively sample Mario and Luigi?s days of 8-bit glory. This here, though, is pop of a different breed, and a head-on NES nostalgia overdrive.
On is debut, ?Family Music,? the Japanese trio, YMCK (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, & Black [get it?]) borrows all sorts of old chip tones and video game music themes and fuses them?quite skillfully, I should add?with sounds of modern and vintage pop. You don?t have to comb through much of the album to recognize adorable pieces of rinky dink game music and sound effects from that dusty, old two-toned gray box buried in your parents? basement.
While such antics may at first seem like pure novelty, one quickly recognizes the musically sophisticated arranging conducted by Takeshi Yokemura. One might even succumb to the gentle, playful vocals of Ms. Midori Kurihara, and it?s just possible that Tomoyuki Nakamura?s circa-1986 synth grooves will find their way into the childrood recesses of your mind.
Lyrical matter draws its water from the springhead itself, singsonging along through the journeys and quests of boys-gone-warrior and mushroom eating Italian plumbers alike. And the Engrish is sheer bonus.
Supposedly, there?s an entire genre of this stuff out there, and if that?s fact, then I might ought to leave the commentary to someone more in the know. To these ears, it sounds like a singularly minded experiment, albeit one that succeeds in squeezing much juice from its berry bush. The song worthiness is probably overshadowed by the limitations of working within such framework, but then, I know some things are simply supposed to be fun.
?Family Music? isn?t likely to change your life. But, if you?ve ever pulled the plug on ol? Bowser, stuck Gannon with a silver arrow, or defeated the horrendous Mother Brain, then it?ll probably make you grin. 5/10 -- Travis Johnson (19 September, 2005)