The principle animating subversively silly alt-girl-group Chai, a four-piece from Nagoya fronted by twin sisters Mana and Kana, they call “neo-kawaii”. Using Japan’s oppressive neoteny vis à vis young women against itself, judo-style, they present a winning alternative to bullshit beauty standards with their confident, carefree craziness. The album’s flagship track “N.E.O” perfectly encapsulates Chai’s dyslexic art-school dance-punk inclinations, as well as their critique of just what constitutes cute. Elsewhere, they hew more faithfully to the J-pop template, but their irreverence remains intact.
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