Now here’s a love-or-hate album. As if cutesy, energized Japanese electro-pop (ala Perfume and Capsule) wasn’t love-or-hate enough, Super Miracle Circuit is, kind of like that Xzibit meme, something that’s loved or hated in a genre that is itself, well, loved or hated (yo dawg..) All of this amounts to what’s invariably a niche listen, explaining it’s less-than-reputable status and generally quiet existence in the J-pop sphere.
Super Miracle Circuit’s premise is polarizing enough alone: dreamy, adorable, child-like vocals glide along top of colorful electronic pop like some kind of sugary airplane made of Jolly Rancher and fueled by pixie sticks blasting off over Tokyo, 3000 AD at a billion miles per hour. Without the pop-idol charisma of more successful genre contenders, Sonic Coaster Pop is simply a musical act focused on the music itself – not the image, nor the Barbie stage puppetry. Even more polarizing is how the album seems to cater to the absolute shortest of miniscule attention spans, rushing by restlessly without a single real opportunity for the music to sink in for the listener, and dropping off at only 20 minutes long. In line with the candy metaphors, the album ends up being an utter and complete sugar rush, and no, it’s not as appealing as it sounds. It’s too energetic for its own good, failing to sit still long enough to leave any lasting impression.
Of course, I did say it was a LOVE or hate album, though “like” might be a better verb in this case. In and of itself, Super Miracle Circuit falls very short – however, the album’s petite length does, in fact, make you wish there was more to it, rather than feeling relieved that it’s over (we’re assuming you made it past the “J-pop isn’t garbage” checkpoint at this point). Microscopic though it may be, the album does have a pretty cool sound to it: 50% rainbow light show, 50% synth candy shop, and 100% electronic – no unplugged ballads here, sorry. The cutesy vocals, while not really notable in any particular way, do contrast pretty nicely with the music, choosing to be melodic and floaty while the instrumentation beats away like a futuristic toy store advertisement. Another songwriting feature that makes Sonic Coaster Pop a bit different from idol pop is how the vocals are woven into the skin of the music, playing like one of the instruments rather than demanding attention at the forefront. But this, once again, is something you either like or you don’t. There really isn’t room for any grays in such a colorful album.
If Phantasy Star Online shat out a rainbow like a laser beam and it detonated a piñata into the cosmos, it would resemble something thinly along the lines of Super Miracle Circuit. Not only is this a small album that’s over with before it truly begins, but there isn’t much more to choose from under the Sonic Coaster Pop name either, with their only other “album” being another brief twenty-minute affair. Unfortunately, even if you fit inside of this niche sound you’ll be disappointed at the sheer scarcity of it, and the music doesn’t have much lasting power either. Though I love the cartoonish aesthetic and the Super Monkey Ball happy-go-lucky feel, and the weird obsession with the letter “S” on this album, there’s hardly anything here to even listen to, let alone fall in love with, leaving Super Miracle Circuit in the ranks of the tiniest of niche audiences.
This video sums up the experience perfectly: