Coming back after making history is always a dangerous move in music- living up to a legendary status quo isn’t easy, and expectations after playing an influential role in a certain scene are undoubtedly high. Simply put, it takes a lot of effort to show people that you’ve still got something interesting to say.
The Brand-New Idol Society project (commonly known as BiS) is currently going through the same situation: formed in 2010, and disbanded four years later, the idol unit was the first to brutally challenge the rules of its own niche, with controversial and provocative concepts that kicked off the new wave of alternative idol groups. For this, BiS have always been credited as pioneers of this rebellious and (today) popular current; they arrived in the scene, changed the rules forever, and then left like legends.
Now, the time has come again for BiS to hit the stage with their aggressive sound, as the unit recently reformed under the supervision of leader Pour Lui, with new members and more music to annoy pure and scandal-free (?) idols. The first chapter of this new era takes the form of a compilation simply titled Brand-New Idol Society 2, featuring re-recorded tracks from their previous formation, mixed up with five new numbers released in the past couple of months. This way, BiS gives a way to newcomers to get a taste of what the group is all about, as well as pleasing the long-time fans with new compositions.
In the context of the record, both old and new songs merge together pretty well. The most iconic numbers that terrified the Idol sphere in the past years are firmly present here, featuring a polished production that accentuates electronic elements as well as pumping up the rhythmic section in certain areas: the disturbing Idol becomes even darker with the addition of double-bass pedals, while Give Me Your Love zenbu benefits from additional synths, just like Reribi (Let it Be) gains more strength with frantic drum patterns. Other tracks like Nerve and Primal. feature almost no change at all, a smart decision considering how iconic these tracks are in the eyes of the fans. The new members do a surprisingly good job in the vocal department, sometimes even outdoing the voices of the former members, giving more cohesiveness between lower and higher notes without annoying pitches. From a general standpoint, while not necessarily better than their original versions, these tracks are certainly as enjoyable as when they originally came out, and together represent a solid compilation of pop-rock/punk compositions, with catchy guitar melodies and memorable hooks as main pattern.
If old glories represent a strong showcase of the classic BiS sound, the new tracks are surely the ones giving variety to the flow of the record: the electronic-oriented Not Special brings insidious synths coupled by nu metal riffs, creating atmospheric moments in the verses, while Human After All is a goofy Halloween themed track that makes its oddity the main attraction. The other new tracks get closer to the classic sound of the band without venturing too much into unknown areas, and while BiS BiS doesn’t shine for anything in particular, Happy Birthday and CHANGE the WORLD make fast-paced drumming and fluent chord progression their highlights, with the first in particular featuring an unusual electronic bridge. While with these new tracks BiS simply do what they can do best, they also spice things up a bit with different influences, bringing a fresh touch to their fun pop-punk essence.
With revisited classics and new tracks blending together successfully, Brand-New Idol Society 2 is a valid record for newcomers and long-time fans alike, a pleasant journey at the re-discovery of the sound that changed the idol world, and its future. Those who expected a more generous dose of new material can relax as well- just as the album released, the group unexpectedly announced a second album, set to be released in February. They’re crazy like that… and that’s why they’re BiS, after all. And it’s the only way we want them.
Brand-New Idol Society 2