Review Summary: Puffy-mania is back
It's been a long decade of a whole lot of nothing for Puffy AmiYumi
. After 2011's Thank You!
the duo practically disappeared off the face of the Earth, bar a few single releases here and there along with a greatest hits compilation (15
, which was also released in 2011) up until the release of 2020's "Hō yare ho", which initially seemed like nothing more than a one-off single. Then came "Pathfinder" the next year. Since the increased frequency of single releases wasn't seemingly pointing to anything, it caught me off guard when pre-orders for The Puffy
appeared out of seemingly nowhere. After near-exactly ten years, the band was finally dropping an album of new material...mostly.
The first thing to see when looking at the tracklist of The Puffy
is that three of the songs ("Pathfinder", "Paffipipoyama" and "Coco Hawaii") had already been released as singles (or in "Coco Hawaii"'s case, a b-side) throughout the past decade; not exactly a bad thing, but it begs the question as to whether or not the duo had been writing this album for essentially the whole decade
. If that's the case, then it oddly paid off, as The Puffy
is a wonderful amalgamation of all three of the duo's creative sides, from the light pop-rock from the band's early days in the mid-90's, the pop punk they became known for worldwide upon the debut of their Cartoon Network show in 2004, as well as a newly found EDM flair that doesn't truly match the electronic undertones that began seeping in on 2009's Bring It!
. The best part is, the duo pull off the three-way union incredibly well; tracks like opener "Essafossa" is a textbook case of the infectious, energetic pop-punk that Machine Gun Kelly should really be taking cues from while writing his desperation-reeked garbage, while songs such as "Susume Nonsense" provide a fine mash-up of the pop-punk and light-rock sides that harken back to the days of 2003's Nice
. "May Be Sinful" eschews pop-punk entirely for a throwback to the band's 90's sound, while the most experimental of the tracks-"Choegoist" and "Always" see the duo successfully pulling off Chainsmokers-esque EDM (and finally proving that if The Chainsmokers really tried, they'd actually be decent), while "Always" mixes in big band, hip-hop and
electronic undertones into their classic sound.
Unfortunately, mixing-wise, The Puffy
isn't exactly the best. While it isn't as big of an offender as other albums released in the past few years, overcompression and dynamic squashing is still evident, which is a crying shame considering the dynamic, genre-blending nature of the album. It's not exactly a completely experimental masterpiece or an innovative, timeless classic, but The Puffy
is still a blissfully great album in its own right. Fans of the band and people seeking something new will be equally satisfied. The ten-year wait was 100% worth it.