Discovery: Malcolm Mask McLaren
Current members: Mone, Ai, Kana, Momo
Do you know the Sex Pistols? If you are familiar with rock music, I guess you do, but do you know their manager, Malcolm McLaren? It’s partly with his name that in September 2015, Asian Promotion, the label of Malcolm Mask McLaren (abbreviated as MMM), decided to launch his brand new idol group with a punk-rock style or more precisely easy core style, a sub-genre of the hardcore melodic genre. Regarding the “Mask” in the name, it was a thing for the girls to wear white masks during their live performances, but they were no longer used a year later, probably because of the discomfort they could feel while singing. However, they are still wearing them during promotional events or when meeting with fans.
It was during the Idol Koushien event in September 2015 that the group was announced for the first time, with three members: Ai, Mone and Miyuki. A few months later in December 2015, Miyuki decided to stop her adventure and then leave her spot to a new member, Nao who joined the group in May 2016. This year saw their first two solo concerts unroll, including a celebration for their first anniversary as well as an appearance at the famous Tokyo Idol Festival. Finally, December 16th marked the release of their first and only album to date entitled “MELODIC HARDCORE”.
There were no single at the time yet, but already an album barely a year after their debut! Let’s get straight to the point, the quality is overall up high on the 14 tracks presents on the album. The sound that emerges from it is an amazing mix between several pioneers of the punk genre from the ’90s, like New Found Glory, Millencolin and the all mighty The Offspring. Everything has been mixed with a slight and appropriate touch of ska like in “SWEET LOVE SUMMER” and “Jirumii” (じ る み ー). There are four cover songs on this album; the most famous being “Stand by Me”, originally sung by Ben E. King in 1961. The result exudes some incredible energy! The other three covers are from Japanese rock bands like penpals, with the title “Life is on the way”, SUPER STUPID with “DO IT MYSELF” and Dragon Ash with “Drugs Can not Kill Teens”. The 14th track “myself” has been used as a promotion for this album and it has a video clip available on the group’s Youtube channel. It represents perfectly the punky-foolish vibes with both a ubiquitous drum line, mandatory in punk, and riffs breakdowns that will delight lovers of the post-hardcore genre as well. “Like this sneakers” is one of my favorites with a riff the hits the mark! “MELODIC HARDCORE” is an album produced by passionate punk music lovers and the listener can feel it, thanks to the obvious influences and effective covers. The sound quality is still perfectible on certain sequences, of course, but already a high level sound for a first production. Lovers of pop-punk and even rock in general should not miss it out.
The year 2017 marks several important events in the group’s history.
The first one is their first single “Bordeaux” released on May 17th. This A-side stays in the purest tradition of punk-rock with a catchy chorus. This song also has a music video that mixes scenes from the daily life of the group as well as a singing sequences, with the girls strolling through the streets of Tokyo. The B-side “Asian Player” is energetic and romping at will.
Second important event of this year is Nao’s departure from the group, in June. She has been replaced with two members, Kana and Momo, the following month, which boosted the number of members to four.
Before this event, we had the chance to go to a Malcolm Mask Mclaren concert on June 3rd, 2016. With almost no break for a one hour live, the three members had so much energy to showcase! Mone was mostly at the center of the stage. Mone, again particularly surprised us as her presence was the most noticeable.
Beyond the traditional Tokyo Idol Festival, they also celebrated their second birthday on September 23th at TSUTAYA O-nest with a concert called “core music”.
The last major event of the year 2017 is the release of their second single entitled “Existence”. Happy songs in punk rock exists and “Existence” is one of them! This A-side comes with a B-side entitled “Reach you my thoughts”.
On May 15th, 2018, MMM released their third single “Light on !!”. It should be pointed out that the voice of our quartet are much more clearer and contained since “Existence”. Also, the production itself has undergone a quality boost as “Light on !!” is for the moment one of their best single. “This World” is the B-side.
Finally, the group announced Mone’s and Ai’s graduations from the group on August 7th on their Twitter account. September 24th at Tsutaya O-Crest in Shibuya will be the last concert for the two original members and it will also be an opportunity to welcome one or more members, according to the statement on the official website. The latter also mentions a “new organization” for the group, with more details about it waiting to be unveiled.
We wish Malcolm Mask Mclaren a lot of success, and continue to make us love idol-punk!
Article and translation by Brice
Malcom Mask McLaren – Official Website Malcom Mask McLaren – Official Twitter Malcom Mask McLaren – Official Facebook Malcom Mask McLaren – Official Youtube Channel Malcom Mask McLaren – Official Soundcloud