BY JOHN B. MOORE
After a 15 year break between albums, ‘90s electro pop band Cibo Matto have finally decided to resurface. And while the Cibo Matto Cult (most knocking into middle age at this point) are likely thrilled, the casual listener will likely greet Hotel Valentine with a collective “this is it?’
The album, 10 tracks total, is decent enough, but certainly wasn’t worth a decade-and-a- half of waiting. The concept of the record revolves around the ghost of a girl who hangs around a hotel, and despite the obligatory eye roll that most “concept albums” seem to induce nowadays, these songs actually tie together pretty well. The band’s reliance on quirky synth lines and random studio-created beats and beeps lends itself pretty well to the eerie feeling you’d expect from an album of songs about a ghost girl.
There are some great odd pop songs on this one, like “10th Floor Ghost Girl” (pretty self-explanatory there) and “MFN,” but there are also some songs that simply can’t rise above the idiosyncratic factor (weird for the sake of being weird), like “Housekeeping,” with the title repeated over and over again as the chorus.
Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda, the core duo behind Cibo Matto, have continued to work in music throughout the band’s hiatus and their return is certainly great news to the diehards out there. For everyone else, at least the bar hasn’t been set too high for the follow up.
DOWNLOAD: “10th Floor Ghost Girl” and “MFN”