Released Today: Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy

For gamers, video games can instill a sense of purpose. They imbed the idea in their minds that any ordinary boy or girl can become a hero. On their second full-length record Endless Fantasy, Anamanaguchi recreate the quest of becoming something bigger than yourself.

Anamanaguchi hack sound chips from Nintendos, Game Boys, and other systems to unleash their arsenal of 8-bit synth leads, dog barks, and white noise snares. Band-mates accompany the modded game systems with live and electronic drums, distorted power chords, and thundering bass to create supercharged soundtracks. Guitar influences range from the pop-punk progressions of Weezer to the silky electric guitars of Ratatat. Trance-like build and releases lift you to grin-stretching ecstasy. The album is primarily lyric-less, but two songs contain potentially obnoxious vocals that fall between bubblegum pop and Final Fantasy cut-scene music. Limitless arpeggios, linear melodies, and transcendent energy dominate the sound.

Endless Fantasy begins like a video game. A rave-like synth pad fluctuates and fades into a mysterious pulse. It leaves you falling in midair. Wind rushes past as you drop deeper into the black. Crashing to your feet, you bend powerfully to a single knee and punch your fist into the ground. The kick-drum beats like your pounding heart, a single bead of sweat drips from your forehead, and a chipper synth charges you forward. You are Mega Man.

Between ADD-addled tempo shifts and daring key changes, each song is an adrenaline rush. Tightly wound arrangements are given brief moments of rest that act as life-saving air bubbles. Chromatic ascensions lead you to epic half-time breakdowns.

On “Planet”, an aching melody glides over expansive synth pads to serve as a humbling reminder of the vast world and its challenges you have yet to face.

There are a few resting points on this fast-paced album each indicated as an “Interlude”. One includes a recreation of Erick Satie’s Gymnopedie No 1, an influence on Anamanaguchi’s simple melodic twists. The album closes with a monologue from The Illusion celebrating the power of positive energy as the key to creation.

The band themselves are on a mission to make Endless Fantasy “more than just an album”. With more than $125,000 already raised on Kickstarter, the band will release Endless Fantasy on a playable Nintendo cartridge, develop online games based on the record, and invest in proper PR to expand reach. Endless Fantasy is available today, Tuesday, May 14, 2013, by donating to their Kickstarter or via purchase on iTunes or in Best Buy.