There’s an intriguing subtlety to Hamster Powder Club’s Goodnight Everyone, No More Magicpowder. Although intrinsically laidback and arguably, at times, laissez-faire in approach, it’s hard to shake off a feeling of wanting to dig deeper, or revisit certain tracks to see if there’s anything more worth picking up on.
Opener “Name” somewhat encapsulates the above, with repeating, dreamlike melodies and hazy vocals combining to create something wholly calming. It’s a fairly safe beginning to the album, with no signs of risk-taking, but for those searching for music entirely comfortable within its own structure, this will check those boxes without fuss.
“Hotdog Dance” does feel a little more outside the box, with colourful, reverberating riffs providing a refined backdrop for a rawer, raspier vocal delivery. There’s more meaning here, with the lack of polish in the singing department actually appearing rather endearing, and the understated solemnity of the guitars allowing for the song to have a marked reflectiveness to it.
In that regard, it is slightly disappointing that the interlude-like “Sunny Weather Song” sticks a pin in any momentum, with the bouncy melodies that precede the grimy, wiry punk-influenced section coming across a little too off-kilter.
However, the jangly guitar-infused “Gummo” swiftly gets proceedings back on track, its warm cadence and toe-tapping drum beats aiding in engineering what is undeniably a smart cut. The lethargic vocals are a particular highlight, playing their own unique part in the smile-raising song which encapsulates the pseudo-low-effort aura that lingers over the entire album.
Towards the midpoint, “Carol” serves up some intricate guitar work amongst more resonant vocals, whilst “Mogura Parade” gives listeners a triumphant instrumental track that soars with its melodies and uplifting colour. It also leads smartly into “Kitanai Blue,” an offering inarguably fuller than what preceded, and a song which ripples with low-key poignance.
It’s the most complete performance vocally on the record, with each note holding a fair amount of impact. And, although a high-point on the LP for the emotional soundscape alone, praise should also be afforded for the fact it comes as a really astute change of pace.
“Oslo” continues the more subdued atmosphere, with the plodding undercurrents of bass contributing towards a measured approach to the delivery, before “Goodnight, Hikikomori” slows things down even more, drawing out every last bit of vehemence through elongated notes and contemplative guitar riffs. Even the climax has an air of deliberate dejection to it, or at the very least some skepticism amidst tempered jubilation.
“Hello punpun” does pick up the pace again, with a more optimistic tone rife throughout the three-minute-thirty runtime, the jangly riffs and dreamy rhythm guitar melodies complementing each other seamlessly. The warped fade-out is a fun addition too, showcasing a softer side to the band prior to the rock-tinged “Lalapipo,” which favours grittier riffs and a rawer kind of polish.
By the time the finale, “Sad Kitchen,” a to-the-point, unrefined flurry of affecting emotion packaged in a slow-moving track, finishes, the listener is left to consider the album as a whole. It’s a tonal smorgasbord, best suited to melancholy but buoyed by its own hope, and always interesting. Whatever comes next for Hamster Powder Club, it’ll be worth listening to.