Track Review: BILLIE IDLE – anarchy in the music scene

“Anarchy in the music scene! Nobody called for us, but here we are!” So begins the debut single from BILLIE IDLE, a group of four girls intent on causing a ruckus and shaking things up in the world of music, …
By Sean Mulrine

“Anarchy in the music scene! Nobody called for us, but here we are!” So begins the debut single from BILLIE IDLE, a group of four girls intent on causing a ruckus and shaking things up in the world of music, all while being as far from “cute” as they can manage.

BILLIE IDLE was announced in 2014 as a joint venture between NIGO (founder of fashion brand A Bathing Ape, DJ for hip-hop group TERIYAKI BOYZ, and so on) and Watanabe Junnosuke (manager of the now-disbanded BiS). Members First Summer Uika and Hirano Nozomi, formerly of BiS, were happy to join immediately after the group split up, while it took a rigorous audition process to find the missing pieces: namely, new members Momose Momo and Yasui Yuuhi.

Now, in 2015, they’re ready to show themselves to the public for the first time, with their debut single “anarchy in the music scene”.

“anarchy” is a surprising song, especially for anyone familiar with the work of BiS: far from the noisy, upbeat punk sound you might expect from a group fronted by First Summer Uika, it’s a dizzy pop number inspired by legendary groups like POLYSICS and Plastics, complete with a fantastic new wave keyboard solo. The 80s techno-pop sound never sounds mechanical or cold: Uika’s uniquely bizarre lyricism takes the forefront and as a result her attitude is all over the track, from exaggerated pronunciation and vocal delivery, aping American accents, to a gleefully dirty moan just before the instrumental hits.


BILLIE IDLE. From left to right: Momose Momo, Hirano Nozomi, First Summer Uika, Yasui Yuuhi.

BILLIE IDLE’s new members get their time to shine too, of course – Momose Momo’s high and melodic vocals drive the chorus along, restoring some kind of order after the chaotic Uika-esque verses, while Yasui Yuuhi’s deep and breathy tone sounds right at home next to Uika and Nozomi’s familiar voices. Best of all, she’s able to match Uika with her own wild delivery, a highlight of the track being her hugely melodramatic “Where am I? No way, is this… IDAHO?!”

Unfortunately, “anarchy in the music scene” suffers from a very conspicuous lack of Hirano Nozomi’s voice. Listening carefully reveals that she’s there in the background, harmonising with the other members, but it’s just that – she’s simply relegated to that background, standing in the shadows of the other three. While her voice isn’t the strongest, it feels distinctly un-anarchic to push one member of the group away in order to showcase the others.

That said, “anarchy in the music scene” is just one track from the upcoming album IDLE GOSSIP, due to be released on April 1st. Whether BILLIE IDLE can really bring anarchy to the music scene will all be decided then: for now, this single merely functions as a statement of intent.

anarchy in the music scene was released on March 3rd through iTunes.