Album review: "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game"
Unlike the heroes of "Tron: Legacy,'' the members of Anamanaguchi haven't gotten trapped inside a video game. But they did get to compose the score for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game,'' which is almost as appropriate. That's because Anamanaguchi plays "chiptune'' music - jumpy, bleepy rock that incorporates the rudimentary tones of such early eight-bit video-game systems as Game Boy and NES.
An American band with a fake-Japanese name, Anamanaguchi doesn't rely entirely on braying electronics. The group adds guitar, drums and bass to its instrumentals, yielding music that suggests a more trebly version of Trans Am, the D.C. trio that melds electro- and arena-rock. The typical Anamanaguchi tune is a 90-second synth-punk dash, although this album takes a few twists: "Cheap Shop'' strolls into retro lounge, and "Maki Ya'' combines a traditional Asian motif with a swaggering riff that suggests Yaz's "Situation.''
Even when the New York quartet's songs aren't cued to video-game action, they're limited by the concept, as well as the lack of vocals. This music is never going to have great emotional range. But if you happen to get trapped inside a video game, Anamanaguchi is the band to help you play your way through.
--Mark Jenkins, Jan. 2011