Between its debut album Fiesta! and its latest offering Wanderland, Missile Girl Scoot went through a personell change.

Guitarist Tatsuya and bass guitarist Saitaro departed shortly after the release of Fiesta!. Remaining members Junn, U-Rie and Yosuke filled the vacancies with Gak on guitars and Keita on bass.

On Fiesta!, various members of the band were credited with writing the music for the album, an impressive collection of metal-rap as hook-filled as it was head-banging.

Would Missile Girl Scoot be able to repeat the creative success of its debut with new members?

With Tatsuya, Missile Girl Scoot had an axegrinder with a clean sound and a penchant for making even the most tried and true power chord sound absolutely new.

Gak, in other words, had some pretty big shoes to fill.

On Wanderland, the results are certainly more varied, even a bit more daring.

“Don’t Rely On Me” starts off with a jazz-pop guitar, over which Junn growls at a former love. At the chorus, Gak switches to an electric, and a punk beat comes crashing in.

“Everytime it Rains” calls to mind Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us”, only with a beefy rock interlude.

“The Winding Road” is straight-forward reggae-rock, while “Get Back” sports a thundering shuffle beat.

Wanderland is pretty much all over the place, veering back and forth between rap, punk, rock, metal and everything else.

But does it all hold together? Not really.

Wanderland unfortunately doesn’t possess the immediate likeability of Fiesta!. The hooks, while good at grabbing, don’t quite keep a hold.

Still, Missile Girl Scoot gets excellent marks for flexing more mature musical muscle. Bring back the hooks, and you’ve got a band with the potential to really kick some posterior.