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NICO Touches the Walls – Yume 1-gou December 27, 2012

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 1:39 am

yume1gou

Track Listing

  1. Yume 1-gou
  2. Kessen wa Kinyoubi
  3. Fuujin “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)
  4. Bicycle “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)
  5. Me “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE” (bonus track)

1. Yume 1-gou

I was kind of expecting Yume 1-gou to have been a ballad considering that cover art, but this is kind of more of what they’ve sound like in recent times which is good and they work better with what they have.  Tatsuya sounds nice and fits the slower atmosphere and that chorus was kind of cool.  It’s pretty laidback, but I felt like this was a good enough A-side and I remember it better than I did with “Natsu no Daisankakkei”. 

2. Kessen wa Kinyoubi

Uhhhh…a reggae-ish track as the B-side?  I really wasn’t sure what to think of Kessen wa Kinyoubi because while it was reggae (without the steel drums?), it kind of came off as too laidback until the chorus came in and added some needed edge.  It’s like listening to 311 or something like that.  I guess it’s not too bad, but it is a little forgettable in the long run.

3. Fuujin “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

So the single comes with three bonus tracks, which are also lives.  The first one if from their “Aurora” album, Fuujin.  I love Tatsuya’s energy ingetting the crowd going lol.  Seeing a I haven’t gotten through to listening to the album, this is my first time and I’m liking the energy and the band sound great overall. 

4. Bicycle “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

This song at least I recognize from being on “HUMANIA”, Bicycle live is just as boring as I thought it’d be.  Unlike “Fuujin” the energy is really dissipated after the intro with Tatsuya.  It just kind of turns into a blur for me and once again like the studio cut, I just can’t seem to remember anything about the song.

5. Me “Live from ALGORHYTMIQUE”

Another song from “Aurora”, Me seemed to be just like “Bicycle” in how the song is just the normal NICO track which really doesn’t help the single nor come after the previous track either.  There’s some parts that are really good…mostly the held-out notes mostly…it still is forgettable though.

 

 

It’s been quite a while since NICO released a single, but they did good with the leading track, Yume 1-gou.  The song was really sweet and had a pretty good melody to go along.  Kessen wa Kinyoubi was at first strange for them, but it turned out good as well.  As for the bonus tracks, only Fuujin is the one that’s actually good but the other two are blaaaah to me.  Overall not bad and a good way for the band to close out 2012.

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NICO Touches the Walls – Natsu no Daisankakkei May 31, 2012

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 12:09 am

Track Listing

  1. Natsu no Daisankakkei
  2. Yuudachi March
  3. Rappa to Musume
  4. Natsu no Daisankakkei (instrumental)
  5. Yuudachi March (instrumental)

1. Natsu no Daisankakkei

After that randomness of their last A-side, “Te wo Tatake”, it was nice to see NICO back to what they do best and that’s just rockin’ out and doing more serious sounding songs.  Natsu no Daisankakkei kind of does have “PASSENGER” waves in it but I love it for some reason.  It’s just a really solid song from the band and Tatsuya sounds great! ^_^

2. Yuudachi March

The same floaty J-rock experience can also be found on the band’s B-side, Yuudachi March.  Now it’s no march if you were assuming things but the drummer, Shotaro is doing a lot more here.  Sadly, I don’t remember this song as much as the leading track but it’s not bad at all lol.  Quite nice actually.

3. Rappa to Musume

Covering Shizuko Kasagi’s old tune, Rappa to Musume is a whole lot different from the previous two tracks and that’s no lie.  This song is gritty and kind of has this psychedelic groove akin to like Jimi Hendrix.  It’s really laidback and quite bluesy too.  I’m not too much of a fan of this song but I’m sure some people will enjoy it since it is a cover and all that.

 

 

With 2011 being such a busy year for the band, NICO finally starts 2012 with an alright single but nothing as good as stuff in the “PASSENGER” era.  Natsu no Daisankakkei is pretty good and fitting for an A-side but Yuudachi March and Rappa to Musume were kind of bleh and forgetful.  I’m sure they’ll get better later.

 

NICO Touches the Walls – HUMANIA December 9, 2011

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 7:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Heim
  2. Shoutotsu
  3. Bicycle
  4. Carousel
  5. Kyokutou ID
  6. Koi wo Shiyou
  7. Endless roll
  8. Gyogyou
  9. demon (is there?)
  10. Te wo Tatake
  11. Te wo Tatake (NICO edition) (bonus track)

1. Heim

A short minute and a half intro opens up HUMANIA which is basically Tatsuya and Daisuke’s acoustic guitar playing.  Seriously that’s just what it is!  At least Tatsuya’s vocals are pretty solid as he’s singing through the tune.  Still I wonder why this is found at the beginning because this sounds more appropriate as the album’s final song rather than the opening.

2. Shoutatsu

Pretty curious that the first full track is pretty explosive when compared to “Heim” that’s for sure.  I’m totally digging this song right from the start since it has a whole lot of what I love about NICO and it’s just a powerful song and in your face.  There’s a whole lot to be enjoyed here and while Tatsuya has some weak points (in the chorus), this song is already a favorite on this album.

3. Bicycle

Coming off as a little darker than “Shoutatsu”, Bicycle still kind of has this slight upbeat sound to it even though the arrangement has a bit more guitars in it.  Does sound like something that I would’ve heard on “PASSENGER” but this is quite nice but not as great as the last track to be honest.

4. Carousel

For a title like Carousel, I was thinking it was going to be a light and/or silly song for the group but I was proven wrong when the song comes in as a lighter pop/rock tune than “Shoutatsu” and “Bicycle”.  The thing that caught my ears was the fact they added a little bit of a synth line and that right there was one of the reasons I actually remember the song.  It’s pretty good but without the synths I’m sure I’d forget it in the long run.

5. Kyokutou ID

I’m surprised that Kyokutou ID takes the band further into more of a experimentive state because the track is unique on the album and has this big band kind of movement going.  I honestly enjoyed the fact that the brass play a big role in the song and it gives a different side to NICO’s music…I mean there’s a friggin trumpet solo!  This might surprise fans of theirs but it’s a good kind of surprise to be honest.

6. Koi wo Shiyou

Our next track tones things down a bit to more of a mid-tempo pop/rock song.  It has a good enough melody, but I seem to be put in a daze when this song plays since it’s just that kind of light and fluffy song to do just that.  I will say though that the synth interlude in the middle of the song caught my attention but as soon as Tatsuya sings again, I”m back to being dazed.  It’s an alright song but nothing very spectacular.

7. Endless roll

Endless roll is definitely a song that has to warm up to you (at least in the case of me).  The verses are kind of light and has a steady beat and some guitars but it feels like it takes a while before the song literally gets better.  To be honest, I get some Sakanaction vibes from this song but it’s weird because there’s no synth shenanigans in the song.  I like it, but I’m still warming up to it lol.

8. Gyogyou

The shortest full track on the album is also the hardest hitting of the album which was a total surprise to me.  It almost felt like NICO was trying to pull metal off at first.  Tatsuya’s enthusiasm in the song is quite blatant and really adds a whole new level of awesomeness.  The small thing that bothers me is the filter that’s put on Tatsuya’s vocals.  Otherwise, this was a great kicker on the album.

9. demon (is there?)

When I see this title, it makes me feel like their somehow mentioning some of their old releases but I know that isn’t the case.  As the last new song on the album, demon sounds like something I would expect Oasis to do but this is actually meaning good signs already.  It’s kind of like “Carousel” but has a little more going for it. 

10. Te wo Tatake

The end of the album is funny since we get the original version of the only A-side released and another version.  The original is up first and like many fans, they were surprised by how poppy and upbeat this was compared to anything from “PASSENGER”.  I thought the change of atmosphere’s was jarring but shows that they aren’t a normal rock band.  It also has brass in it (not at the levels of “Kyokutou ID” though).

11. Te wo Tatake (NICO Edition)

As a bonus treat, the other version of Te wo Tatake is a little more of what NICO should’ve done originally with this song despite it being as brightly colored as it is.  Mostly the changes are really in the arrangement where it took out the brass and squeezed in more guitars.  It’s not a bizarre change which is good and more fans will probably catch this version a little better than the original.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shoutatsu
  • Kyokutou ID
  • demon (is there?)
  • Te wo Tatake
  • Endless roll

Song of Avoidance

  • Koi wo Shiyou

It’s a feat when your band is able to release two albums in one year and in the case of NICO Touches the Walls, it feels like it was opposite to “PASSENGER” in direction and overall mood.  I felt like this album was a little under the other album since there were a couple of plain/forgettable tunes but otherwise it’s a good follow-up here.

 

NICO Touches the Walls – Te wo Tatake August 22, 2011

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 6:31 am

Track Listing

  1. Te wo Tatake
  2. Sokudo
  3. Te wo Tatake (Instrumental)
  4. Matroska Live Ver. (bonus track)
  5. Hologram Live Ver. (bonus track)
  6. Ame no Blues Live Ver. (bonus track)

1. Te wo Tatake

After the rather serious “PASSENGER” era of A-sides, it’s a nice change to hear more of a brighter and upbeat NICO song.  Tatsuya even sounds like he’s having fun in the song and his vocals are loud and just full of life…seriously if it wasn’t for his vocals, I’d say I was listening to an ikimono-gakari track hahaha.  Seriously it’s so random from the band but I really liked this somehow!

2. Sokudo

So the B-side of the single is not as light and spazzy like “Te wo Tatake” but it’s still a little brighter than stuff in their last era and yet I get this serious vibe from listening to Tatsuya’s powerful vocals.  It has a strange feel though but I think it makes the song sound better and stronger.  I’d say that it’s just as good as the A-side…listen to it!

3. Matroska Live Ver.

So one of the versions of the single comes with three bonus tracks containing lives of songs performed at at ZEPP Tokyo.  The first tune up is one of the album tracks from their last album, “PASSENGER” and the energy is still blasting through my speakers.  This song has not lost any of its rockin’ steam and it sounds great live!

4. Hologram Live Ver.

The next two tracks are songs I’ve not heard yet.  Hologram was released as the band’s 5th single since becoming a major label group and from the sound of the live, I could see myself enjoying the studio version.  It isn’t as hard like “Matroska” but more like “Diver” but there’s a good riff and Tatsuya sounds stable and straightforward and not taking risks… (well until he shouts to the crowd LOL).

5. Ame no Blues (Live Ver.)

I didn’t think they’d go that far back in their music catalog to do a live version of Ame no Blues (which is off their debut mini-album, “Walls Is Beginning”).  I kind of looked shocked seeing the near 7 minute time length of the song and wondered why it was so long.  Ame no Blues is quite bare-boned and very slow-moving especially when the rest of the band joins Tatsuya after two minutes pass by.  Somehow the song starts feeling like a lullaby and I kind of doze off after 4 minutes…just too slow and draggy…

 

 

 

Te wo Tatake starts off NICO’s 4th era on a good note…different…but good note.  Te wo Tatake was actually good because it’s uncharacteristic of the band to pull of such a happy-go-lucky tune but it was done very well.  Sokudo was also quite good for a B-side and goes back to their usual style so there’s consistency there.  The lives were good for sure, especially Matroska and Hologram (Ame no Blues suffers from sleepy disease).  I’d say this was a solid single!

 

NICO Touches the Walls – PASSENGER April 16, 2011

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 7:25 am

Track Listing

  1. Rodeo
  2. Mousou Taiin A
  3. Diver
  4. Page 1
  5. Kimi Dake
  6. SURVIVE
  7. Yougisha
  8. Yuujou Sanka
  9. Matroska
  10. Sudden Death Game
  11. Passenger

1. Rodeo

I love the fact that the album starts with a howling wolf and rattlesnakes shaking their tail with this kind of western mood going….I mean galloping horses and ~YEEEEEEEEHAWWW!~ adds to it.  After that, the song begins and it continues to carry the cowboy-ish kind of mood even after Tatsuya enters the song.  He sounds gritty and oddly enough fits the atmosphere the song has so it works.  Interesting opening song I will admit.

2. Mousou Taiin A

Getting into our next song, Mousou Taiin A sounds a lot like “Diver” if not way too similar than the A-side since it’s NICO’s regular formula of rock song.  I mean it’s energetic and Tatsuya does give a good vocal performance, but it just feels like it’s a repeat and nothing is really brought to the song.

3. Diver

Which makes it hard to listen to Diver since nothing totally has changed besides the melody of the song.  While it might be the second A-side of the era, Diver at that time was quite awesome to listen to, but still a bit plain on the J-rock side of things.  I still enjoy “Sudden Death Game” quite a bit more still and on the album Diver goes lower on my lists since we have “Mousou Taiin A” right before.

4. Page 1

Changing things up, Page 1 kinds of goes into a more upbeat and fun side to their music.  I thought it was kind of cute to listen to the song because of the bouncy rhythm and lighthearted energy that’s thrown in.  Tatsuya’s vocals aren’t as edgy like before, but it’s a nice change of pace and he sings pretty well in the song….Surprising that I ended liking this song quite a bit.

5. Kimi Dake

Hmmmm, Kimi Dake really throws the album for a loop as it’s piano-led but with this kind of epic tone.  I thought it reminded me of something from Arcade Fire except way different vocals.  I love the build up at the beginning that just rang in my ears and Tatsuya just had the vocals for this.  This has got to be the first song that caught my attention and it’s a quick favorite for me.

6. SURVIVE

After all that awesomeness, SURVIVE continues this with a lot of amazing riffs and hooks throughout.  It does feel like “Rodeo” minus the Western touches which is great for sure and I do feel like I can remember this song a whole lot more as well because of said riffs and hooks.  Whenever I hear this though it reminds of ASH…who’s a big band in Ireland…so it’s kind of cool I guess in a way.

7. Yougisha

Ack, another “Diver”-like track.  At least it’s a bit slower than said song and rides on a good rhythm.  I guess it’s not so bad after a while and there’s good parts done by guitarist, Daisuke.  It’s alright in the long run, but it’s nothing that’s totally special besides sounding like some ending to an anime.

8. Yuujou Sanka

As the only B-side to appear from “Diver”, Yuujou Sanka to me was a much better choice than “Naku no wa Yamete”, but slightly as both songs were a bit more tame than other songs on the album now.  I did like when it was after “Diver” since it was a lot less of a regular NICO rock track and had more flavor, but on the album it sounds like a mixture of “Page 1” and “Yougisha”.  It’s alright, but once again much better songs on the album.  I will say the whole ~baka~ thing in the middle was hilarious to me.

9. Matroska

Finally breathing some fresh air, Matroska ups the tempo and excitement quite largely and I felt after the last few songs, this was much needed and well-played.  I love Tatsuya’s vocals here quite a bit and he adds another level of energy.  It’s pretty rockin’ and was what more I was expecting from the band.

10. Sudden Death Game

I found it cool that their first A-side of the era is found towards the end of the album rather than the front.  Now, I’ll say this song impressed me a lot because it sounds like Incubus but in JPN and I do like Incubus so this comes to me as a welcomed surprised.  I still really enjoy this song a lot since its release and it’s one of the odder arranged songs but fun and yet serious….GO NICO!

11. Passenger

Closing the album with the title track, Passenger is a surprise being the album’s longest song at 7:24.  It starts off pretty slow with acoustic guitar and Tatsuya’s vocals.  It does grow slightly, but it seems to be the album’s ballad since it lightly grows as time goes by adding electric guitar and bass along the way.  Surprisingly the whole song is the entire time and not a hidden track stached anywhere.  Good song, but way too long for me.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kimi Dake
  • Matroska
  • Sudden Death Game
  • Page 1
  • SURVIVE

Song of Avoidance

  • Passenger

Ok, I will admit, PASSENGER for the most part isn’t a bad album at all, actually it’s quite good to be honest.  The songs for the most part rocked and the band changes up the pace quite enough to not make things stale which is a plus.  I’ll definitely keep my eyes on them ^_^

 

NICO Touches the Walls – Diver January 11, 2011

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 2:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Diver
  2. Yuujou Sanka
  3. Broken Youth (LIVE 2010 East×West Apollo to Luna ~Night of Luna~)
  4. Diver (LIVE 2010 East×West Apollo to Luna ~Night of Luna~)

1. Diver

Being their first A-side for the year, Diver (being a tie-in to Naruto: Shippuden) is actually definitely a song that screams anime, but I love it nonetheless since the energy is there and Tatsuya is singing with emphasis and strength which is great.  To be honest it might be strong and all that, but I have a much easier time remembering “Sudden Death Game” compared to this. 

2. Yuujou Sanka

As for the B-side from the single, Yuujou Sanka is a whole lot more of what I kind of was expecting from NICO since it’s more of a mid-tempo track, but there’s a couple of good hooks in the song.  I do like that Tatsuya’s vocal work here is less loud and all over the place like in “Diver”, but there’s some parts of the song where it’s a bit random, but it’s a strong song, though the later part of the song is kind of meh because of the repetitiveness going, but it’s still good.

3. Broken Youth (LIVE 2010 East×West Apollo to Luna ~Night of Luna~)

For the rest of the single, it’s live songs time now!  I’m kind of wondering why we get another live version of “Broken Youth” especially since we have the one from “Bigfoot”.  While I do love the fact that this live version was done to a much bigger crowd, Broken Youth sounds just as good as its other live version.  So if you heard the version on “Bigfoot” it’s basically a bit better sounding here and the energy is shown a bit stronger as well.

4. Diver (LIVE 2010 East×West Apollo to Luna ~Night of Luna~)

So we also get a live version of the A-side and since if I remember right, this was the first time they performed this to a crowd.  To me, it’s a pretty good live version for sure, but I’ll stick with the studio cut since it’s easier on the ears and Tatsuya sounds a little better there than here.

As the second of the era, Diver wasn’t that bad of a single but I wouldn’t go ahead and say it’s much better than “Sudden Death Game” was since I enjoyed that single for the main tracks.  Here we get a good anime track, a nice mid-tempo song and Broken Youth got a much clearer live cut.  Diver live wasn’t too bad, but I like the studio better.  Maybe they’ll get even better on their next single.

 

NICO Touches the Walls – Sudden Death Game August 7, 2010

Filed under: NICO Touches the Walls — solarblade @ 6:38 pm

Track Listing

  1. Sudden Death Game
  2. Naku no wa Yamete
  3. Sudden Death Game Instrumental
  4. Sudden Death Game Instrumental (Mitsumura Guitar)
  5. Sudden Death Game Instrumental (Furumura Guitar)
  6. Sudden Death Game Instrumental (Sakakura Bass)
  7. Sudden Death Game Instrumental (Tsuhima Drums)

1. Sudden Death Game

Right from the start with such a title like Sudden Death Game, I was expecting it to be interesting.  NTtW really gave a pretty cool track for us to listen to and I’m happy to hear something that’s relatively American-like.  There’s something about Tatsuya’s vocals that sound really cool like a Japanese Incubus perhaps.  It’s pretty much interesting all-around.  I approve this more than “Bigfoot”.

2. Naku no wa Yamete

As for the B-side of the single, Naku no wa Yamete is a whole lot lighter than “Sudden Death Game”, but I thought Tatsuya’s vocals sounded beter with an acoustic rock sound going and even though it’s more of a mid-tempo ballad, it’s still nice to listen to.

 

 

Since the A-side has been known for quite a while beforehand (their lives had a few new songs playing).  Sudden Death Game is a pretty good rock tune from the group and since it’s their 3rd era, this is progress of the good kind.  Naku no wa Yamete is more relaxing but still pretty good, I can only wonder what’s next.