Kurayami Monogatari

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access – Secret Cluster December 30, 2012

Filed under: access — solarblade @ 8:36 am

secretcluster

Track Listing

  1. vibe cluster (Instrumental)
  2. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ (Album ver.)
  3. Beyond the Second-D.
  4. Star Tribal
  5. Let me go
  6. Stand By
  7. ChaOs GrAdatioN
  8. f☆R☆E☆e
  9. Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)
  10. Secret Dimension (Instrumental)
  11. 20th Sincerely

CD 2

  1. Doubt & Trust
  2. GONNA BE
  3. Dream Runner
  4. PARADISE
  5. Higher Than Dark Sky
  6. Aoi Nami
  7. SOUL DYNAMITE
  8. Share The Love
  9. Keep It
  10. Ride Up For The Shiny Way

1. vibe cluster (Instrumental)

The album opens up with an introduction piece from Daisuke who still is a great producer and vibe cluster is a simple but futuristic intro.  Not much else to really say about it besides that it moved nice and smoothly and led into our next track nicely.

2. Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~ (Album ver.)

As the one of two A-sides that made the main tracklist (so not including the second disc) we get Bet first which was the last single to be released in the era.  I’m not totally sure of what the changes were made from the single version but the song sound a bit more electro, but that could just be me.  I feel like the song could benefitted a harder beat, but it’s not a bad track, but I like the original more.

3. Beyond the Second-D.

I’m surprised to see more B-sides make the album cut over the leading tracks.  I said in the past that I really like this track from “Wild Butterfly” and I still do because Takami doesn’t try to be really screwy with his vocals but the song might just be a little to the textbooks for them.  Also I feel like the song could’ve been a smidge quicker, but I still really like the song.

4. Star Tribal

Only 4 new songs on the album?!?  That’s a bit disappointing.  Star Tribal though doesn’t sound like anything the duo has done in the era and I really like this more serious side to access’ music.  For being a slower track, I think they tackled the song in stride and just let it go the direction it wanted.  It almost sounds like it could fit in an anime/RPG.  One of the album’s intriguing songs.

5. Let me go

As the B-side from “Bet ~Tsuioku no Roulette~, I was actually pretty happy to see the album’s cut because while it was a bit more pop-oriented and kind of has a certain Johnny’s sound to it, I loved that it stood out from the album.  It’s like Takami wanted to be in a boyband and we got this song from it.  Quirky little tune isn’t it?

6. Stand By

Our next new track on the album, Stand By is a lighter affair and has that be happy feel with that intro but also keeps up with Daisuke’s synths,  Like I’ve said about a couple of others, I kind of wish there was more oomph going on because without it, it sounds like a snoozer,  and frankly that doesn’t work and neither is the rapping here…

7, ChaOs GraDatioN

The other B-side from “Wild Butterfly” makes its appearance and all I can say is why include this because this was a bit of a mess of a song.  Mixing what I knew from them but then the verses are all urbanized and all kinds of gross.  I guess you can say it’s a bit chaotic, but this was too much for me…there was a limit.  This was a pretty bad song on the single and it hasn’t changed any better on the album.

8. f☆R☆E☆e

Even though “Stand By” is the album’s longest track, I actually really thought that Daisuke FINALLY found something that isn’t missing much in the arrangement.  f☆R☆E☆e kind of reminds me of “EDGE” but I’m OK with that because this song is one of the more impressive songs here!  It’s a really cool dance track and there’s so much I could say because it brought me out of the mediocrity.

9. Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)

Seems like the other A-side on the album has gotten an arrangement switched out with this echo-y keyboard arrangement.  Wild Butterfly this time around took out the flighty feelings and I feel like Daisuke handled this better the second time around.  It sounds a lot more complete as well so that being said, it was a leap for me to enjoy it, but now I’m enjoying this version more.

10. Secret Dimension (Instrumental)

As an interlude before getting into the final track on the album, it sounds like more of what we heard in the beginning but with more punch.  Does sound like something I’d hear in a game, but I like it…though it doesn’t slide into the final track very well since it is so heavy with beats and synths.

11. 20th Sincerely

Yeah, the final song on the first disc is a ballad which is why I said “Secret Dimension” didn’t really fit before this track.  20th Sincerely does kind of sound slightly like they want to be nostalgic because I could hear this on the stuff before their hiatus.  It does suffer as being a little too boring and the end stretched a little too long…but the track is only 4 minutes long…strange…appropriate way to end the main disc.

CD 2

1. Doubt & Trust

Lord, I would have never guessed that I would be reviewing Doubt & Trust a third time and strange to see access including this single up to “Share The Love”  so all ten songs found from those four singles get singled out and put on the second disc.  Doubt & Trust was and still is such an amazing song from the duo,  Unlike most of the tracks that filled out the era, this was more anime-rock and it didn’t slightly sound like T.M.Revolution but with Takami’s voice.  It’s sad to say that it’s still the best of the entire album because it’s just so edgy and aggressive and I love the guitar riffs…Yeah, that good of a song!

1. GONNA BE

The B-side from above single has had time to slightly grow on me and while I don’t like the sampling in the beginning and Takami under so much auto-tune is quite distracting and add his already nasally tones, it’s just a bit too much for the song.  Suffice to say, I’m not too big of a fan.  At least the guitar solo was in fact good…but the song otherwise, is just yucky.

3. Dream Runner

I was expecting so much drom Dream Runner after how completely badass “Doubt & Trust”, “EDGE”, and “Hitomi no Tsubasa” turned out, but this song while more energetic than most of the stuff on the first disc, there was something that I didn’t really enjoy…but nowadays has disappeared.  I kind of dig it nowadays…maybe Takami’s vocals aren’t still connecting to me very well…but the arrangement is niiice!

4. PARADISE

However, I can’t say the same for the B-side because it’s bizarro and very uncharacteristic of them to throw out there,  Takami is just speeding through the song so following him alongside this beach=friendly with that UFO woop is just a tad strange.  It just reminds me of how WTF T.M.R’s “Salsa Bazaar” was and this fits VERY closely with it.  It’s not terrible, but it would never fit on an album and not even here.

5. Higher Than Dark Sky

As the 3rd single, Higher Than Dark Sky has made me wonder why I thought it was ever better than “Dream Runner” because this song is really plain to me nowadays…sounds like nostalgia done the wrong way.  Thing is is that this song has an absurd amount of Engrish about and Takami doesn’t sound all that good either.  It just sounds extremely cheesy and overly dated!

6. Aoi Nami

Strange, as I listen to Aoi Nami, the song starts to remind me of “20th Sincerely” in the strangest way…it’s like they had the same structure, but this song is less cheesy sounding, but Takami sounds worse in this song because that chorus makes him hit notes that HE CLEARLY CAN’T HANDLE!  I would enjoy the song if it didn’t have such an annoying chorus.

7. SOUL DYNAMITE

Now this sounds like classic access because Daisuke’s bringing some old sounding keyboards up to the front, but it’s rather intriguing when compared to many of the other songs on the album.  The chorus is still kind of a shady area for me, but this song is still quite good nonetheless.

8. Share The Love

Finally we have the 4th A-side on this disc, Share The Love.  I love the opening that kind of reminds me of the fast piano lines in “Doubt & Trust” but one Takami starts to sing, it reverts back to this nostalgic trip.  I would say behind a couple of A-sides this is one of the better ones they’ve released…still got that nasal tone that really can kill the song sometimes but I think I can move it aside and enjoy it.

9. Keep It

Kind of like “ChaOs GraDatioN”, it also has this urban sound that really doesn’t fit the song at all…add in an annoying siren and you get this song which sounds like a mess to be honest and is really not their forte.  Very annoying song to listen to and it’s repetitive as well…

10. Ride Up For The Shiny Way

The final song on the second disc, Ride Up For The Shiny Way brings the energy back and so does Daisuke’s arranging here since it’s kind of more up to date with the synths and style.  I don’t really enjoy listening to Takami’s higher register, but he tackled the song well minus those specific parts.  A good way to close things out!

Tracks Recommended

  • Doubt & Trust
  • f☆R☆E☆e
  • Wild Butterfly (Album ver.)
  • Let me go
  • Dream Runner

Song of Avoidance

  • Keep It

How long has it been since access released their last album, 5 years?  Yeah it’s been that long and Secret Cluster took forever to come together because of the 6 sings spaced so far apart from each other!  If it was just the one disc, the main disc isn’t totally bad.  A little forgettable but not terrible.  With the second disc, I think it dropped because all those songs were off the singles (which is strange to see “Doubt & Trust” as it was on their best album back in 2007) and most of those were disappointing songs.  It’s a big release, but not everything is peaches in access land.

 

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