Loop, repeat

I finally figured out how Do As Infinity pulled the wool over my eyes for all these years.

Just when I’m about to write the band off, they’ll record one song — just one song — to delude myself into thinking they’re just the greatest thing happening in pop music.

The last time out, it was “Koosooryodan”, a track so unabashedly hard, it was barely pop. Before that, it was “Fukai Mori”. And “Raven”? Still a great song.

But with the band’s fifth album, Gates of Heaven, the cover is blown. All the nagging suspicions that were quashed in previous Musicwhore.org reviews come front and center.

Do As Infinity hasn’t really done anything different since day one, has it?

A lot of the songs on Gates of Heaven can find direct descendents from previous Do As Infinity albums, most of them alot better than what’s offered now.

“Hiiragi”? Try “Desire”. “Honjitsu wa Saiten Nari”? Try “Summer Days”. “Blank”? Try “Shinjitsu no Shi” and “Painful”. “Mahoo no Kotoba”? We got your “Holiday” and “We are.” right here. “Weeds”? The only thing separating it from “Week!” is a “k” and an exclamation point.

The level to which Gates of Heaven offers no surprises is criminal, especially given the band’s penchant for juggling pop and rock. Offering songs as divergent as “Summer Days” and “Week!” is great. Writing more songs in the exact style of “Summer Days” and “Week!” is not.

About the most daring thing Do As Infinity does on Gates of Heaven is employ some reggae on “Azayaka na Hana”.

And to think Owatari Ryo and Van Tomiko have been getting away with this over the course of five albums now …

The lustre of Van’s voice is still very much in tact, and Owatari can solo like anybody’s business. It’s just tiring to hear it on the same set of songs over and over again.

Creative growth is something not to be feared. But if Album Number Five is any indication, Do As Infinity is pretty much stuck.