Colon Open Bracket


Written by: PP on 02/03/2009 13:11:28

Nintendocore, a genre label coined unintentionally by HORSE The Band on their demo tape, fuses together either pop punk or metalcore together with 8 bit nintendo sounds from the late 80s-early 90s era. Think Super Mario Brothers' and Megaman's synth-based soundtracks having gone through some sound manipulation, and throw in some guitar, drum samples, and vocals on top and wupti, you've got a sound that's awfully nerdy (look at the artwork, for god's sake) and strangely enjoyable at the same time. Colon Open Bracket, sadface, or :( like the three versions of the bandname are used, are the next band trying to musically profit from a fusion of rock and Nintendo on their sophomore album "Kawaii".

If HORSE The Band played pop punk, they would sound like Colon Open Bracket. That's the easy way to describe "Kawaii". Nintendo (Gameboy, mostly) sounds are scattered everywhere, spiced with catchy choruses and a generally light sound with full focus on the interplay of keyboard and vocal melody. Forget about awesome guitar riffs or vibrant bass lines, for those are left purposely to the background so that the Nintendo sounds can be at the forefront at all times - in fact I'm fairly certain that :( have the most Nintendo elements out of all the bands in the genre. Sounds nerdy? That's because it is, BIG time. You can tell these guys are a huge part of the Internet generation already from the band name, but with song titles like "<3s", "Pre-Emoticons", "***Gone***", "Game Over" and others, most people from the baby boomer generation will be totally lost in their lyrical universe. Then again, they aren't the target group of Colon Open Bracket, "Kawaii" is exclusively meant for Myspace whores, Twitter-addicts and Facebook-lurkers.

Most songs on the album are pure synth-based Nintendo-pop punk containing catchy choruses and all clean vox, but there are a few exceptions to the rule as well. "Game Over", for instance, sounds surprisingly angry for such a happy-sounding band (ironic as it is, considering the name), and on "Fake Blood", the band have taken a few notes from a couple of hardcore punk bands before writing the song. But for the most part, "Kawaii" sounds like it's opening track "Cute", which sports a ridiculously catchy chorus and some instantly memorable synths (most notably the Super Mario sounds), and "Don't Talk Just Dance", which features all the ingredients for a dance-party like the title suggests. These are coincidentally also the best songs on the album.

But as is the case with so many other bands who use 8-bit melody in their sound, the novelty wears off rather quickly and then you're left with 'merely' an above average pop punk unit with catchy melodies. When :( are on their best, they'll have you dancing frantically and singing along to their choruses, but there are far too many moments where the band sounds somewhat lost in the overflow of keyboard melody, as if they forgot that the verse and chorus vocals should actually be the most important element in their sound. In a nutshell, "Kawaii" is interesting for a while, but quickly forgotten.


Download: Cute, <3s, Don't Talk Just Dance
For the fans of: HORSE The Band, Robot Goes Here, Motionless Battle
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.01.2009


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