PASSEPIED boasts one of the more complicated legacies of the 2010s. The four-piece band has flashed moments of real greatness, from early singles finding just the right balance between pop hooks and a sense of mystery, to cuts going in all kinds of topsy-turvy directions. Their influences were always clear — this is a project enamored with Soutaiseiriron, as many over the past ten years have been — but they always seemed right on the precipice of turning this combo of mid-tempo rock mixed with sing-speak into something all their own.
With their 10th anniversary of a band upon the world, they really haven’t, though. If PASSEPIED put up their instruments today and stopped playing, the inevitable best-of compilation would be solid. But they haven’t delivered a really great standalone album since forming, and the last few years PASSEPIED have felt pretty inert. They just keep going to the same ideas, maybe funking them up a little but ultimately feeling like throwing a new ornament on a three-year-old Christmas tree.
Ahead of a new album, PASSEPIED has shared “Graffiti” and for the first time in a while that old potential locked within them seems close. Watch the video below.
Key to “Graffiti,” PASSEPIED pick up the tempo and get just the right amount of jittery. Right from the start, the band’s playing is way more fractured, zooming ahead and using a start-stop style as a way to keep everything from settling into a familiar groove. This one feels on the verge of breaking apart at any second, always just holding on. Even more important, vocalist Natsuki Ogoda moves beyond the talk-sing delivery in favor of something more breathless. It matches up with “Graffiti’s” overall rush, and together gives this one a sense of urgency that’s very welcome from this group.
The group’s 5th full-length album, more humor, comes out on May 22, and it will be a big one for PASSEPIED. If “Graffiti” is anything to go off of, this one might be able to stand out from their discography though.