On their major-label debut, Traveler, the members of Tokyo band OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM hone the winning formula they have been writing since the early 2010s. Their funk-pop love stories evolve in extravagant proportions, with the guitars and horns roaring louder and the string arrangements turning more lush. Built up by rollicking pianos and balmy guitars, the thunderous music of breakout hit “Pretender” bursts with feeling, like a fireworks show. And when the band plays it straight, the music dazzles as all the pieces of a song fall right into place. On the triumphant “Shukumei,” frontman and chief songwriter Satoshi Fujiwara’s uplifting lyrics bounce off the optimism radiating from the ascending brass-pop arrangements. HIGEDAN nails every beat and cadence in its songs, summoning heart-racing musical peaks as if on cue. However, the band also focuses on the finer details, with Fujiwara reflecting on the more complicated ends of love and romance. While the funk- and jazz-inspired production of Traveler plays as subtle as a blast of confetti, the lyrics dance around the big subject at hand. As Fujiwara reaches into his bottomless well of metaphors to express his thoughts on “Yesterday” and “Vintage,” his roundabout style encourages listeners to read between the lines, the ambiguities evoking multiple interpretations. On Traveler, the contrast between a song’s bold-faced arrangements and its indirect lyrics draws out the clashing emotions at play. The cheeriness behind the heartfelt rock of “Pretender” underscores the fact that Fujiwara is narrating a breakup story, while the chill, subdued soul of “Rowan” masks a rather vengeful kiss-off from the typically sincere frontman. While everything points back to the theme of love, Traveler explores more in between the extreme highs and lows of the band’s favorite subject.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada