An all girl Japanese rock band that consist of five members: Miku (guitar and vocals), Saiki (vocals), Kanami (guitar), Akane (drums) and Misa (bassist). They play their own instruments and they dress like maids. Deal with it.
It’s been a little over two years since BAND-MAID released of their first mini-album, MAID IN JAPAN. Since then they found their groove with their second mini-album, New Beginning, calling it a “new start” as they shifted more towards hard rock. Their music videos for Thrill and REAL EXISTENCE have achieved over 2.5 million views each on YouTube as of writing, and comments on their videos showed that they have built a wide international fanbase. Earlier this year the group made their US debut at Seattle’s Sakura Con, as well as performing at MCM London Comic Con in May.
With the release of their third mini-album, Brand New MAID, the members have had more involvement – Miku wrote the track FREEDOM and co-wrote YURAGU and alone with Saiki. It is also their first album to see an international release through JPU Records, which has an exclusive bonus track of REAL EXISTANCE live and a booklet containing lyric translations and transliterations into English.
If BAND-MAID wanted to announce to any newcomers that they are a force to be reckoned with, then Brand New MAID gets the point across straight away with the non-fiction days. Roaring into life and reaching a (almost untouchable) high point for the rest of the tracks to follow, it is an aggressive opener with Saiki prominently belting her heart out. The flaming hot music video (directed by Ryoji Aoki) is also the best they’ve put out so far, with both track and video perfectly showcasing just how far they’ve come.
Things cool down with LOOK AT ME (with a Kanami guitar solo that seems to just come out of nowhere), before switching to the heavier ORDER, with Misa’s bass slapping solo being a highlight.
Each member gets their moment to shine on Brand-New Road, incorporating elements of jazz. Miku and Saiki’s vocals perfectly compliment each other here. They also excel on YURAGU, another solid track with a meaty guitar riff and Akane pummelling on drums.
The explosion of energy in FREEDOM makes for a fast paced standout. But it is the more moody vocals in particular that dominate here. As Miku and Saiki cry out, “Get out my way”, you know that they’d probably crush you if you didn’t. Before Yesterday feels like the most mellow track on the album, but by no means makes any less of an impact. They have spoken about wanting to write a track for an anime series and this sounds like it would be a good fit.
alone closes the album on a high. Powerful and with emotional expression, it is notable for being the first track where BAND-MAID composed both the lyrics and the song. It bursts to life with all guns blazing. Kanami also has plenty of guitar solos on this album, but her solo here is a thing of beauty.
New Beginning saw a distinctive direction for the group and Brand New MAID feels like they’ve made some headway on that. While it’s less of a leap, it’s a more confident BAND-MAID here that have produced an exceptional album with some hard-hitting tracks.
Brand New MAID is available now to purchase now via JPU Records.