I'm so happy he's going to be working with Imai again! I've missed him. The SOTB stuff sounds really good too. I don't know if it's already been mentioned, but the full version of the "I'M FLASH" theme song is up as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yobvoX1wIro
Please don´t get me wrong, i like the new album and there are some really good tracks on it. They also don´t have to change their sound very much, but, as I said, I can´t lose the feeling Chiba has less new ideas and is repeating himself over and over musically. If you compare the sound of Thee Michelle Gun Elephant from the beginning (lets say the song sekai no owari: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PImjio4EPgw) to their later albums (let´s say Turkey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo5Mk-SGCMk), TMGEs sound was so different over time and still so amazing. The Birthday just can´t reach that level.
So far it seems VISION is gonna be my favorite album since NIGHT ON FOOL. I agree it doesn't sound especially original, but I don't mind at all, because why change something that is already perfect :) Can't really say which songs I enjoy the most, whole album sounds equally strong to me. However towards the end with their 2nd single and STORM it gets absolutely stellar.
VISION is, in my opinion, a solid album. You´ll get the typical The Birthday sound you probably want to listen to, but it´s nothing new. Everything sounds as always and I can´t lose that feeling Chiba is getting more and more unoriginal. He/They seem to have less new ideas, nothing is going forward. Always the same. For example: Why is a song called "LOVE SICK BABY LOVE SICK"? There was a song on ROSSO´s "Dirty Karat" called "Monkey Love Sick". Don´t know if you get my opinion, but I think he´s repeating himself over and over. No new ideas. Also that bass intro to "KICKING YOU" sounds very much like the bass intro to Thee Michelle Gun Elephant´s "G.W.D.", don´t you think? I must honestly say..I´m a bit disappointed. Sure, I like their sound and I will listen to the album. But I don´t know where it´s going.
Oh and I've been saying it always when the new album was announced, but it still amazes me how someone can record 6 (technically 7 because Motel Radio Sixty Six is long enough to count) solid albums in 6 years. I feel like I still owe proper listen to last two of them... and yet new amazing stuff keeps coming!