The 2013 version of music from a 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System—as conceived by Brooklyn chiptune rock band Anamanaguchi—packs a ton more oomph than the elementary bleeps and bloops that Mario saved Princess Toadstool to when we were kids. To create the electro-rock on its debut album Endless Fantasy, Anamanaguchi pipes live instruments through old video game equipment like an NES and Game Boys. It's a technique the band used on its attention-getting soundtrack to Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World video game in 2010.
The music Anamanaguchi creates in its first studio effort is very much recognizable as video game tunes, but it's about 20 times more lavish. Everything on the album hits hard. The Legend of Zelda-like bass, scintillating Super Mario synth and fighter jet simulator drums pack a wallop that '80s video game developers could only have hoped for. The fiery dance rock songs are unyielding. A bold announcement that summer is here.
With 22 tracks of varying length, Endless Fantasy can wear on the ears a bit. But thankfully, pop tracks with vocals like "Prom Night" break up the album just enough to ease the monotony. For maximum enjoyment, however, the album is best heard on a shuffled playlist for a summertime road trip or patio dance party. SW