Labeling yourself as a band is always a tricky situation, fraught with the peril of being compared and contrasted to many great bands (and many more terrible ones). Though Cannibal Kids’ Spotify bio cites “Japanese City Pop” and references Kero Kero Bonito, Rex Orange County, and Hiroshi Sato, what is most evident in the trio’s music is the South Florida home – it evokes high-energy, fun-in-the-sun vibes, and is as eclectic as the “city pop” genre itself. “It’s true that the artists who are labeled as ‘city pop’ these days seem to have no common musical backbone,” Hiroshi Atagi, singer of Awesome City Club, told The Japan Times. “We’ve come to realize that listeners don’t really care about musical characteristics and don’t really discriminate, much more so than we thought.”
Cannibal Kids is comprised of Damian Gutierrez (vocals, rhythm guitar), Dustin Diaz (lead guitar), and Luke Faulkingham (drums), who have been playing together since middle school. In 2017, they released their debut LP Bloom, amassing a fervent local fanbase; they wasted no time in following it up with this year’s deadheads. Though it is a bit more whimsical than their prior release, it’s still a long way off from sounding anything like the jam bands of the ’60s and ’70s. Today, they’re premiering a video for the album’s feel-good opening track “Voicemail.”
Like the song itself, the video is a light romp – it depicts the band hitting the road while a mysterious blue girl leaves forlorn voicemails, the grainy messages popping up between choruses throughout the song, gently asking for a call back. Essentially about keeping a cool head while under water in a relationship, the tune is light and airy given the melancholy subject matter. Those hints of desperation are mirrored in the video when the band is held up by would-be theives – who even go so far as to break the fourth wall in their demand for the cameras filming the video itself. The tape keeps rolling, with the band’s fate (as well as the lovers’) hanging on the line.
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