No need to argue

I still stand by what I said the last time Do As Infinity released an album — the band hasn’t really evolved since its first albums, a few anamolous songs aside.

And I wasn’t expecting much from Need Your Love, the band’s sixth album.

Do As Infinity doesn’t exactly break expectations, either — the slick, friendly pop they’ve delivered over the past six years is still very much the duo’s modus operandi.

And yet, Need Your Love is actually pretty good.

Do As Infinity built its reputation on a genre-blending trifecta — a bit of rock, a bit of jazz, a lot of pop. Owatari Ryo added guitar muscle to songs that would have otherwise drowned in an ocean of synthesizer effects.

But the genre-hopping became too distracting, sacrificing focus for diversity. The songs suffered for it, the albums even more so.

Need Your Love is still a pop album, but the band concentrates more on its hard rock underpinnings, resulting in perhaps its most cohesive album in years.

Album opener “For the Future” doesn’t stray too far from the template that brought listeners “Summer Days” or “Toshikari Naru Mama”, but the following track, “Blue”, keeps the band on a steady rock course.

“Be Free” still owes a lot to “Week!”, but the former has more of an edge over the latter. Even “Yotaka no Yume”, which starts off sounding like another ballad in a long line of DAI ballads, bursts out in a dramatic chorus more akin to Cocco.

The songwriting, while still adhering to a recognizable Do As Infinity aesthetic, features some of the better hooks the band has produced in a while. The delicate opening of “Rakuen” immediately grabs, while its chorus keeps hold.

“Ultimate GV” and “One Flesh” start off with strong guitars and build to even stronger choruses.

By the time the band winds down to its more predictable balladry, it had already given listeners a good workout.

Need Your Love doesn’t paint outside the lines of Do As Infinity’s creative borders, but within them, it’s the tightest work the duo has done thus far.