Kurayami Monogatari

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BESPA☆KUMAMERO – PLASTIC CONFUSION December 22, 2009

Filed under: BESPA☆KUMAMERO — solarblade @ 3:44 am

Track Listing

  1. Snipe_001
  2. Girls & Bunny
  3. closer
  4. POP
  5. place of No.9
  6. Close up the music
  7. Find Out
  8. another piece of Nylon Wave
  9. 24 colors
  10. POP (Breeze Piano ver.)

1. Snipe_001

Starting out, Snipe_001 is edgy and dark like the stuff on their first album, “Romantic Waves”.  Azumi already has a bigger role in the song by first reaction.  I’m liking the electronic rush the song has and the points where Azumi is singing robotically were great, I also liked her normal singing as well.  I’m loving this song a whole lot right now.

2. Girls & Bunny

Monkichi surely hasn’t let off the original button quite yet and Girls & Bunny definitely feels new to me.  It still is electronica don’t get me wrong, but it’s like he mixed it with the eurodance style to make it more refreshing.  Azumi is also singing without any vocal help and she has a pretty nice voice.  Catchy beat and catchy song overall.

3. closer

Now here’s where things get really strange.  closer starts with an edgy opening with some guy repeating ~b, k~ which clearly representing the group.  Then the same guy starts to rap with Monkichi’s arrangement…it’s very strange and at the same time very lulzy to listen to.  After his lengthy rap, Azumi comes in with the electric guitar/beat mixed arrangement and it just feels not right. 

4. POP

I’m guessing this was the main song to promote the album, I guess.  POP is definitely a bit lighter than what BESPA is known for.  It’s a pretty interesting song and feels ethereal and rather relaxing.  I love the use of 8bit here and yet the other synths feels totally feel new as well.  Azumi’s vocals can be a little monotonous in places in the verses, but luckily Monkichi is good with entertaining the listener with various melodies and such. 

5. place of No.9

I found the intro to place of No.9 somewhat a throwback to 70’s spaceish based music…(Actually sounds like Reading Rainbow’s theme).  It’s got a lot of different things happening like xylophone melodies, water droplets, and a little bit of 8bit sounds.  I’m noticing that so far, all the songs have taken a little bit too long to start up.  Honestly, I was thinking this was a long interlude before Azumi came in.  About her, she sounds really nice here, but the song doesn’t have a real climax, but it’s also a song that really puts you into a relaxed mood and I like that about it.

6. Close up the music

Close up the music fixes my complain up since it does begin with vocals from Azumi.  This song really goes back to their first album with its darker tone, but it feels like it carries something new as well because it does have a dance feel to it.

7. Find Out

Being a totally different sound than what we’re used to, Find Out is strictly a rock tune featuring both Monkichi and Azumi on lyrics.  Sadly, it’s the shortest song off the album, only over 2 minutes.  I really liked the energy and guitar riffs and Azumi brought back her angsty vocals as well which amazing.  Honestly, I like this alot.

8. another piece of Nylon Wave

It seems BESPA went back to their song “Nylon Wave” and basically gave it a full rearrangement and keeping some of the original intact.  Azumi also seemed to resang it in a deeper tone and I really liked it a lot more than before.  Monkichi’s efforts on this is also great since he added new synth lines and some guitar parts as well.  Great job at this song.

9. 24 colors

The last new track on the album, 24 colors reminded me of “FREE FREE” just without the overload on synths.  I love the mixing of melodies between the 8bit synths and the guitar.  It’s an interesting song and Azumi feels like she’s meshed with the music quite nicely.  I’m kind of liking the arrangement more though.

10. POP (Breeze Piano ver.)

At the end of the album, we get a rearranged version of POP and it’s really surprising how it really turned out.  Instead of the electronic influences that gave the original its peppyness, this is totally devoid of it and actually is just piano, played by Monkichi and Azumi.  I really loved how they gave to song a more melancholic sound and it’s probably their wildest transformation of a song and yet it totally worked since Azumi sounds amazing.

Tracks Recommended

  • Find Out
  • POP (Breeze Piano ver.)
  • Snipe_001
  • Girls & Bunny
  • another piece of Nylon Wave

Song of Avoidance

  • closer

BESPA☆KUMAMERO’s sophomore effort to me was definitely a step up.  We did lose Monkichi’s solos through this album and the songs themselves felt more electropop than Romantic Waves more dark-tinged view, but seriously, I enjoyed this quite a bit.  Now I know Azumi can sing well with songs like Girls & Bunny and the rearranged version of POP.  Hope a third album is in the works cuz they could become a powerful group

 

ikimono-gakari – Hajimari no Uta

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 3:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Hajimari no Uta ~Tooi Sora Sun de~
  2. Yume Kendai
  3. Joyful
  4. YELL
  5. Nakumonka
  6. Mahiru no Tsuki
  7. Hotaru no Hikari
  8. Cosmos
  9. Futari -Album version-
  10. Tenohira no Oto
  11. How to make it
  12. Mirai Wakusei
  13. Ashita e Mukau Kaerimichi

1. Hajimari no Uta ~Tooi Sora Sun de~

It’s really unfair for me to have to listen to so many ballads from the group because it’s really hard to care for them when they aren’t exciting or anything special.  The first track, Hajimari no Uta sadly falls into this category.  It’s a little more upbeat than the previous ballads and there’s strings that make it a softer blow, but besides that, nothing caught my attention…not even Kiyoe.

2. Yume Kendai

Luckily things get sort of better with Yume Kendai since it’s more upbeat and features the harmonica and synths together.  I already enjoy Kiyoe’s vocals a whole lot more than before and it sounds powerful.  The melody is lighthearted and fun which was what the era was lacking in the singles (save for “Joyful”).

3. Joyful

Which is fitting because Joyful is full of fun awesomeness.  It’s even more peppier than “Yume Kendai” and Kiyoe is showing a great amount of energy and at points makes me wonder if this was an ikimono-gakari song or a school food punishment song since they both have a tendency to make fun songs.  Definitely one of the best A-sides of the era.

4. YELL

YELL being the primary A-side, was a surprise because it’s a ballad rather than being an explosive song like “Joyful”.  I wanna like, I really do, but “Futari” did come first and this just seemed to be another round of it.  I mean take out Yoshiki’s vocals from “Futari” and you basically get this song.  Easy to say that I just didn’t feel for this song.

5. Nakumonka

I know when it’s a bad idea to stick the songs that roughly sound like each other next to each other.  At least the good thing about Nakumonka was that there were no strings to really fully connect with “YELL” until later in the song, after that, it felt like deja vu.  Good thing though is that Kiyoe isn’t sounding awkward as much as she was in “YELL”.

6. Mahiru no Tsuki

I know I shouldn’t be complaining but I’m already getting tired of the ballads already and while Mahiru no Tsuki somewhat makes a change to the music by adding more of something, it still feels rather dragged on for me.  Still, it’s actually a lot more profound and stronger as an ikimono song than both the previous songs.

7. Hotaru no Hikari

The anime song of the era, Hotaru no Hikari really does have a strong anime feel to it, but that’s because it’s tied into Naruto: Shippuden so I can’t really hate on it since I usually like the series’ songs.  It’s pretty upbeat and it breaks the dragging of the ballads so I enjoyed hearing this song at the point of the album.

8. Cosmos

Oddly enough, Cosmos is really interesting as a song all-around.  I love the beginning with the harmonica solo and then it just opens to this mysterious pop/rock tune.  It’s really an amazing song and Kiyoe is just amazing here, her vocals were really strong and full of emotion.  I think I’m in love with this song.  Interesting to note by the way, Cosmos is a self-cover from their original song of the first name off their debut indies mini-album, “Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshiraemashita…”

9. Futari -Album version-

So we get a new version of Futari, the era’s first A-side and honestly I kind of like this version more than the original because it just has a stronger arrangement and has a nice opening instead of starting immediatly with Kiyoe’s opening line.  Yoshiki is still present in the song as well given it a more profound sound.  Best ballad of the era…funny how that works huh?

10. Tenohira no Oto

To me, Tenohira no Oto goes back to the group when they released great music and oddly enough Yoshiki and Hotaka are actually singing majority of the lines of the song while Kiyoe acts as the main in the chorus and I was pleasantly surprised to find a track where the guys take over for a song.  We need more of these kind of songs and not just Kiyoe by herself!

11. How to make it

Stand up and clap your hands everyone! is the feeling I get with the song.  It’s kind of a light-hearted song and it’s kind of cute at the same time.  Kiyoe is singing particularly fast here in the song but it’s enjoyable.  It’s funny that it’s just so chill and free-spirited.  Nice song.

12. Mirai Wakusei

While I was happy they started to drift away from the ballads, we sadly fall back in with Mirai Wakusei and once again I’m getting another deja vu moment with this being a little bit like “Mahiru no Tsuki”.  I didn’t really enjoy this song much and feels tacked on the album to be the filler song.  I’ll admit the chorus is catchy as hell though.

13. Ashita e Mukou Kaerimichi

Not surprising that ikimono-gakari would end off the album with another ballad and a pretty slow one at that.  Unlike the other ballads where there’s a grandiose arrangement, Ashita e Mukou Kaerimichi takes it and overloads on it.  There’s beautiful passages of strings and Kiyoe together.  Acoustic guitar has an actual minor role in the song so it’s good they backed off on that.  Then once the drums come in, I’m instantly bored…didn’t enjoy where it went…

Tracks Recommended

  • Cosmos
  • Yume Kendai
  • Tenohira no Oto
  • Futari -Album version-
  • Joyful

Song of Avoidance

  • Mirai Wakusei

Where people have said that ikimono-gakari’s album tracks are mostly worse than the singles released, I honestly felt that the album tracks this time were better than the released stuff.  I honestly didn’t like the fact the ballads weren’t different enough to make a true difference, but they were one or two that I did like.  Clearly shows ikimono-gakari excels way better at upbeat songs than ballads.  Not a bad album, but could’ve been so much better.