mizuirino_inu – TOKYO VIRUS LOVE STORY [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“What in the hell is this?” you might be asking. “Is Dolph OK?” you might be asking. And you’d be right to pose both questions. First, mizuirono_inu self-describes as mélange of genres: rock, hip-hop, EDM, anime music, all “mixed together in a messy room and spit out,” which I distill in my head as “Fake Japanese Soundtrack”—the score to a prolonged panic attack with a mostly post-hardcore/screamo backbone. This is our modern time seen through the fantasy lens of a group of individuals who have had a rough go at it. And, as for the second question, yeah I’m mostly doing fine, probably better than the characters in TOKYO VIRUS LOVE STORY, at least.

A great album takes me on a journey, and TOKYO VIRUS LOVE STORY lands no different in that respect, even if I can’t understand most of the narrative. And while that understanding can add color to thematic punctuation, mizuirono_inu manages throughout their narrative to put emotion and purpose behind each line—quality voice acting—that propels the numerous long-form tracks to gripping heights. Yes, I’ve watched enough anime in my life to understand the nuances of a chanted daijoubu, (“君の嘘と未来へ [Your Lies and the World to Come]), cries of DERENAI (“room”), and glitches of sugoku kimochi (“change”).1 Words aside, all it takes is a pair of open and willing ears to float through the Envy-esque crescendo from “change” which erupts as a cacophonous choir of screams—intention and inflection over-explanation. Sure the obligatory semi-English song “shy boy” has plenty of words you can understand, but, again, more important remains the duel of voices and the crash in of “ARE YOU READY” against the boss battle synth climb.

But what would a great album be without great music? Despite the extravagance of sounds in all departments, TOKYO VIRUS LOVE STORY finds the root of its success by embellishing simple melodies with extremities. Taking cues from their labelmate World’s End Girlfriend,2 mizuironu_inu dances around gentle piano backings that grow in intensity as songs weave through glitched-out breaks, blood-curdling screams, and scattershot cuts (“YOUTH,” “room,” “change”). The “daijoubu choir” that introduces “Your Lies…” recurs as a gentle reminder, dodging forays into nasally rap, understated lounge jazz, and glossy post-rock swells. An unassuming bassline rollicks through “change,” morphing from a steady pulse to flowing thump against the polyphonic caterwauling. As manic as it all is, I can’t take my ears away.

As you might assume, I spend a lot of time listening to metal, more than usual too as a result of my tenure at this wonderful establishment. However, a true, fantastical adventure isn’t what I always find, even among my favorites in this beloved genre we call home. Of course, mizuirono_inu still offers many of the things I do enjoy sonically: richly layered vocals, organic but twisted performances, and a nuanced yet punchy mix.3. However, most importantly, this past year, when I’ve wanted to close my eyes to drift and imagine and escape, time and time again I tune in to the grab bag of mystifying madness that is TOKYO VIRUS LOVE STORY.

Tracks to Check Out: “YOUTH,” “room,” “君の嘘と未来へ (Your Lies and the World to Come),” “change”

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Daijoubu: ok, alright. Derenai: get out. Sugoku kimochi: that feels great. Loose translations anyway, I’m no Japanese expert. Feel free to correct me or translate the whole thing while you’re at it!
  2. And boss, WEG runs Virgin Babylon Records
  3. Courtesy of other fellow labelmate KASHIWA Daisuke
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