Kurayami Monogatari

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Plastic Tree – Ink December 18, 2012

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 4:08 am

ink

Track Listing

  1. Rorschach (Hidari)
  2. Ink
  3. Kuchizuke
  4. Piano Black
  5. Avantgarde
  6. Life Is Beautiful
  7. Kimi wa Canary
  8. Joumyaku
  9. Chouchou
  10. Shion
  11. 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai. (CD only)
  12. 96 Shousetsu, Nagaki Fuzai. (2CD & 2CD+DVD only)
  13. Rorschach (Migi)

1. Rorschach (Hidari)

Ryotarou opens up the album with a rather light introduction with Rorschach (Hidari).  It’s really only him and a light guitar background.  It’s kind of creepy but at the same time, kind of cool at the same time because I like Ryotarou’s light vocals.  Interesting way to start the album.

2. Ink

Onto the first song which is also the title track, Ink continues to show quite a bit of that dark tinge which is kind of cool and I’m surprised to hear a lot of what I think is bass in the song.  Ryotarou’s vocals do seem to be overwhelmed by the band a lot of the times but at least he comes out in the chorus, but his voice breaking every so often feels a bit concerning for some reason.  It’s like he’s tired and his voice cracks to show how tired he is.  I guess it’s his thing but ehhh.  The song is still good for what it is though lol.

3. Kuchizuke

Moving into the 2nd A-side released for the era, Kuchizuke is probably my favorite of the three songs and I’m also happy to see that none of the A-sides were changed unlike the two from the “ammonite” era.  Ryotarou sounds slightly cleaner than he usually is which is great, but the song has this eerie but cool sound abouti ats well.  Definitely one of the best songs on the album to be honest.

4. Piano Black

I was kind of surprised at the synths that open the next track as I was expecting another dark track like the previous songs to come after.  I just really like the bright atmosphere about the song.  Once Ryotarou joins in, the same thing happened like in “Ink” where his voice is covered by the music…I could barely determine what he was singing in the track.  Though, I was in love with the arrangement being all hard, but floaty as well.  This might actually grow on me a lot though.  Very unique from them!

5. Avantgarde

For a song titled as such, I was worried that the song was going to be some strange tune.  HOWEVER, Avantgarde is a bit of a boost in energy because when I listen to the song, I kind of get a certain punk-rock feel which is pretty cool and a change from the brooding songs.  Ryotarou sounds a bit more cooler and his voice doesn’t sound as stressed as it is in “Kuchizuke” but it’s still there.  I actually quite like the song though and it has picked me up from a slight slump,

6. Life Is Beautiful

The next track, Life Is Beautiful lets up on the band by making this Ryotarou and acoustic gutiar and it’s great to hear him not stressing and all, but he’s singing quite fast which is amusing to listen to for some reason.  Then the chorus comes in and I’m super annoyed because it’s so repetitive and the croaking is at an all time annoyance for me.  This song would’ve been great had it not been for that gross chorus! 

7. Kimi wa Canary

The intro of the next song was a bit strange with those dissonant strings that sounds like it was playing at 128 kbps.  I like the flighty track since it sounds ratehr tame and doesn’t take risks which is a total 180 from the previous track.  Ryotarou sounds really nice and non-offensive which is also a good change as well.  Not bad!

8. Joumyaku

As the A-side that begun the “Ink” era, going back to Joumyaku is kind of strange to me because like “Kimi wa Canary” it’s not very risk-taking of the group and they seem to take smoothly through (as wekk as Ryotarou).  I still do think there’s some struggling going on with his vocals but they aren’t as harsh as some of the other songs on the album.

9. Chouchou

It really feels like this song and the two previous tracks all seem to tie together because they have a similar tone and arranging as their all kind of those mid-tempo rock tracks.  Unfortunately Ryotarou is so amazingly quiet in this song that it was even harder to tell what he was singing than in “Piano Black”, clearly the band has overpowered the singer!  At least the arrangement is good…just let Ryotarou sing louder!!!

10. Shion

Then we get to the last A-side before the album with Shion and I never really connected with it.  With that acoustic guitar intro it did remind me of “Life Is Beautiful” and it’s really the same way how I felt about the song entirely because once again Ryotarou just seeems to slightly kill the chorus, but it’s not as tragic as I once thought lol.  I still think it’s the weakest of three but it’s whatever.

11. 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai.

So depending on what version of the album you got, you got a track that’s similar but not?  Here’s how it goes, if you just got the CD, you get this track which is a shocking 12+ minute track which is mostly an OVERLY-glorified instrumental.  If there was something I couldn’t stand it’s a long ass instrumental and this really bored me to death.  Granted, Ryotarou isn’t in this track, but I need more substance that this!

12. 96 Shousetsu, Nagaki Fuzai.

If you got the either of the 2CD versions, you ended up with a shortened version of the song above (which is really absurd to pull).  I like that they shaved more than half the song down to a little above 5 minutes, but it’s still an instrumental so it’s not like the cut was beneficial otherwise that it’s shorter.  It reminds me of something of Radiohead’s but not sure what.  Not totally bad, but this is probably the better version.

13. Rorschach (Migi)

Finally the album comes full circle to its outro Migi.  It’s slightly longer than the intro, but it’s once again Ryotarou singing quietly with a light acoustic guitar so it’s a pleasant track to close out but for people that have the CD only…this could just be like why after such a long track while the 2CD will probably appreciate it much more.

Tracks Recommended

  • Piano Black
  • Kimi wa Canary
  • Avantgarde
  • Kuchizuke

Song of Avoidance

  • 218 Shousetsu, Kaku mo Nagaki Fuzai.

After listening to a better quality version of “ammonite” I concluded that the album was better to me and I started to like it, but some of the problems had remained like Ryotarou’s vocals and some boring arrangements.  With Ink, it’s really more of the same footwork to be had.  Though the problem here that’s new is that Ryotarou gets covered by his band a lot and it feels like I’m barely forced to pay attention and more to the music (and the LONG instrumental was definitely not needed).  It’s not a bad album overall and I did like more of the songs here which is nice, but Plastic Tree might be on the ending for some reason to me.  BTW the 2nd disc is really just the Rebuild tracks from the singles and two new ones and two new tracks?  I don’t know but that was a little nice to see!

 

Plastic Tree – Shion September 17, 2012

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 1:16 am

Track Listing

  1. Shion
  2. Mahiru no Tsuki (Rebuild) (Regular A only)
  3. Ether Note (Rebuild) (Regular B only)
  4. Shion (2012nen 7tsuki 8nichi Rokuon. Hikigatari Ban)
  5. Shion (Instrumental)

1. Shion

I was kind of surprised with the band’s third A-side of the era, Shion.  Unlike the previous two singles, this one actually is pretty light and features a lot of acoustic guitar.  Sadly, Ryotarou’s vocals in this song is kind of all over the place and really messes up during the chorus.  The verses are nice, but the chorus is just a bit too much.

4. Shion (2012nen 7tsuki 8nichi Rokuon. Hikigatari Ban

Like the previous versions, there’s the rebuild tracks which are essentially self-covers and there’s an extra version of the A-side.  Shion sounds really low quality, but only features Ryotarou and an acoustic guitar.  Unfortunately his voice in the chorus is even WORSE than in the studio version.  Oh well…

 

 

I wonder if an album is next since this is their 3rd single and all.  Shion is probably my least favorite single of the era.  Ryotarou just kind of fails in Shion’s chorus mostly which is the song’s biggest fault.  The other version of Shion is putting salt on the already existing wound, being all ew and LQ.  I don’t know how the rebuilds sound (then again I haven’t heard any of the 6 songs that were redone to begin with.  Meeeeeh

 

Plastic Tree – Kuchizuke June 26, 2012

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 4:32 am

Track Listing

  1. Kuchizuke
  2. Trance Orange (Rebuild) (Regular A only)
  3. Closet Child (Rebuild) (Regular B only)
  4. Kuchizuke (2012.4.14 Nippon Budokan Shoen Ban) (Limited only)
  5. Kuchizuke (Instrumental)

1. Kuchizuke

I’m happy to see Plastic Tree back to their good sound after how off “Joumyaku” turned out.  The song is a bit safer to the group because it’s quieter and has more piano in the arrangement which is a nice change.  Ryotarou doesn’t sound as stressed as I’m used to and her took it lighter which is pretty good.  There still are times where his vocals break but I think it’s on purpose.  Not bad!

2. Kuchizuke (2012.4.14 Nippon Budokan Shoen Ban)

Like the previous single, Kuchizuke has a live version of the song and at first I didn’t even notice it was done live.  I mean the sound of the beach opening the track kind of throws you off.   Once the song actually begins, it sounds really good and a lot like the studio version.  Good take!

 

 

Plastic Tree’s second single for this era is a lot stronger of a lead song than “Joumyaku” was.  There was less vocal issues and the arrangement altogether was a lot better here.  I’m wondering why they’re doing new versions of their old stuff and the live version was good too.

 

Plastic Tree – Joumyaku March 13, 2012

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 2:35 am

Track Listing

  1. Joumyaku
  2. Narihibiku, Kane (Rebuild) (Regular Type A only)
  3. Itai, Ao (Rebuild) (Regular Type B only)
  4. Joumyaku (2011/12/09 – First Perfomance in Taiwan) (Limited Edition only)
  5. Joumyaku (Instrumental)

1. Joumyaku

As the leading track, Joumyaku is a little more alive than stuff from their previous era that’s for sure.  I kind of like the lighter vibes to Plastic Tree and they sound nice as a band.  Ryotarou though kind of sounds like he’s struggling to sing that chorus because his voice cracks in the most uncomfortable of ways.  I think it’s intentional but at the same time it’s kind of like not.  Good song, but mediocre vocals!

4. Joumyaku (2011.12.9 Taiwan Premiere Edition)

On limited editions, a live version of Joumyaku pops up!  While I was kind of not liking the studio version, I was curious to how theyd do live.  Yeah a bit more louder and has a punchier sound but Ryotarou sounds bad if not worse here which kills me on the inside.  Otherwise nice!

 

 

*will review the B-sides when they leak, even though they are just updated versions of old songs of theirs*.  Joumyaku could’ve been great if it wasn’t for the rather icky vocals in it.  I mean the arrangement is pretty cool and the movement is great both in the studio and live…but Ryotarou…control those vocals!!!

 

Plastic Tree – ammonite April 19, 2011

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 8:17 pm

Track Listing

  1. Thirteenth Friday
  2. Moonlight____. (ammonite Ban)
  3. Taikutsu Machine
  4. Mirai Iro (ammonite Ban)
  5. Setsugekka
  6. I Love You So
  7. Aria
  8. Duetto
  9. Bambi (ammonite Ban)
  10. Sabishinbou
  11. ~Sakuhin “ammonite”~
  12. Blueback
  13. spooky (Regular edition only)

1. Thirteenth Friday

LOL, kind of taking the lulz for the whole Friday the 13th and such.  Plastic Tree opens the album and I actually don’t really like the song much since it sounds so boring and kind of messy…almost like a watered down “Moonlight____.”.  Ryotarou’s vocals are kind of lazy sounding as well, but whatever.

2. Moonlight____. (ammonite Ban)

It seems that all the songs that were released on singles on the album have been edited starting with the last first A-side released in the era.  I actually think the changes in the song were pretty good and Ryotarou sounds better to me than when he did on the original cut.  You still have to deal with his stressed out vocals, but it feels a bit more powerful this time around.

3. Taikutsu Machine

To me Taikutsu Machine feels a bit more basic and upbeat when put against the last track, but Ryotarou keeps his wacky vocals in the song and it places it’s pretty bad, but other times it fits….so it’s strange for me.  I personally loved guitarist, Akira’s solo.  It’s a fun song to listen to overall.

4. Mirai Iro (ammonite Ban)

Then getting into the new version of Mirai Iro, I’m unsure whether I liked this version more than Mirai Iro since it does fix a lot of things, but due to that it sounds a bit like “Taikutsu Machine” as well which is a bit strange but whatever.  I still enjoyed the anime-like opening kind of feel it has and it still is a better A-side than “Moonlight____.”.

5. Setsugekka

Slightly slowing things down for a bit, Setsugekka is actually a surprising song since it starts out quiet and more of a rock ballad but the chorus throws that out the window and just explodes with energy and good stuff from the band.  Ryotarou’s vocals are verging from the good vocals into the crackly ones…it’s hard to say if I loved the song or just got used to it.

6. I Love You So

If garage band was put in my head, I Love You So has definitey achieved its purpose.  It’s loud, abrasive, and just in your face with the band just rockin’ out and not caring for a totally noticeable melody.  It’s a bit messy for me and just kind of tunes me out.

7. Aria

Thank god Aria came in and cleaned up after “I Love You So” to be honest.  Despite that it fits along with “Mirai Iro”, Aria’s similarities aren’t so bad and the riffs and arrangement is a lot more stronger and together than said song as well.  Ryotarou’s vocals also sound a lot better as well which was what I needed after the last few songs.  It’s one of the better songs on the album.

8. Duetto

Are things starting to get better from the band now?  I actually think so because Duetto is pretty cool of a song with the guitar plucks and the energetic performance from them, but not overbearing.  I’m liking this just as much as “Aria” if not more here.  Awesome rock song!

9. Bambi (ammonite Ban)

Of the three B-sides presented during the era, I was surprised to see that Bambi was chosen.  Not beef towards the song since I still enjoy it, but the other two were better IMO.  Anyways, like the other older songs, Bambi was edited to feel a bit more edgy than the original and it worked which made this song a whole lot better than the first version.  It does come with a price seeing that Ryotarou’s voice is covered up by the rest of the band, but whatever.  It’s a good song still.

10. Sabishinbou

The click of a lighter begins our next song and it’s a surprise after all the tracks previous here simply because acoustic guitar is the main instrument of our next song.  It’s weird because I get odd Suneohair vibes out of the song because of Ryotarou and the flow of the song.  It does grow out of that and the rest of the band appears, but after that happens the song just becomes a slight bit boring.

11. ~Sakuhin “ammonite”~

As the album’s interlude, Sakuhin sounds like it’s underwater since there’s bubbling going on of some sort.  It does fit since ammonite’s were water-based creatures.  Sadly, it doesn’t go anywhere besides some guitar thrown in towards the middle of the track. 

12. Blueback

Closing the limited edition of the album, Blueback is fitting to close the album, but it’s one of the more boring songs off the album since it’s so slow-moving and kind of has a crawling kind of thing going for it.  It’s cool that it’s a smoother and more ethereal kind of track of Plastic Tree, but it just went nowhere in the long run.

13. spooky

On the other hand, spooky as the closing for the Regular edition of the album is surprising simply because it’s the hardest arranged song on the album.  If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve said this was by some V-kei group or Oshare-kei.  It’s got energy and the vocals are great as well…but it’s loud for sure xD

Tracks Recommended

  • Duetto
  • Aria
  • Taikutsu Machine
  • spooky
  • Bambi (ammonite Ban)

Song of Avoidance

  • I Love You So

As it’s my first Plastic Tree album, ammonite isn’t really anything that stands out for me.  I like their rockin’ sound but its always hindered by either Ryotarou’s vocals or just suffering from a bland arrangement.  It was hard to sit through most of the album, but then again…this album was released in a shitty quality so maybe I need a better take perhaps.

 

Plastic Tree – Mirai Iro April 14, 2011

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 7:09 am

Track Listing

  1. Mirai Iro
  2. Paper plane
  3. Moonlight____. (2010.08.12 Shinjuku Live Recording)

1. Mirai Iro

Weird that unlike “Moonlight____.”, this quickly goes on a run right from the get go and already sounds like a fun song to listen to from the band.  Ryotarou sounds a lot better than he did on the last A-side and the song is straightforward and goes for an animu-rock track and it works since it’s catchy and has that upbeat positive nature too.  I had a better time remembering this song ^_^

2. Paper plane

As for the B-side, I found it pretty classy that the song has a lot of piano throughout yet retains their rock-based sound through it.  It’s more positively set than “Mirai Iro” was and it’s enough to turn my head a few times since it wasn’t something I was expecting from the band.  It’s just as good as the A-side if not slightly better?

3. Moonlight____. (2010.08.12 Shinjuku Live Recording)

Closing the single out is a live version of their last A-side.  It sounded like the crowd was pretty much having a grand ole time listening to the song, but it seemed they kind of were being loud in the recording which is a little weird in live versions since most of the ones I hear, the crowd is eeriely quiet.  Sad to say they covered up poor Ryotarou and the band for a good portion of the song…Ehhh…

As the second and final of the “ammonite” era, Mirai Iro was surprisingly a big difference after the slightly emo-ish “Moonlight____.”.  This single took a pretty upbeat take this time and I felt the band stood out a lot more in this setting.  I can only wonder what’s on the album.

 

Plastic Tree – Moonlight____. April 11, 2011

Filed under: Plastic Tree — solarblade @ 8:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Moonlight____.
  2. Bambi
  3. Rusty (Regular Edition only)

1. Moonlight____.

First song I’ve actually listened to by Plastic Tree, Moonlight started out quietly for me with Ryotarou’s vocals which are also quiet and in a whispery kind of feel before it builds up into him singing fully.  His vocals seem good at places and others it sounds stressed and somewhat forced, but I think it’s purposely done.  It’s still a good enough track to listen to, but Ryotarou’s vocals are one’s that ya have to get used to.

2. Bambi

Another song based off a damn deer?  Kidding aside, Bambi sounds harder and more raw than the A-side which is a good thing to hear in the band.  I will say that Ryotarou’s lighter and less forced vocals make a big difference between the two and I like this song since it’s just that catchy and full of energy.

3. Rusty

By Rusty, I’m kind of wondering what we’d get and I feel like we got a song that sounds roughly like something you’d hear when someone is surfing in the water because of the guitar chords and the overall mood of the song.  It is weird that Ryotarou’s vocals are much quieter than in previous songs, but just like “Moonlight____.”, they grow and sings his loudest in the chorus.  I also paid attention to the rest of the band as well and they did a great job actually.

Since it’s my first PT single reviewed I must say that I’m curious about their album, “ammonite” (which just released…but I wanna get through singles first).  Anywho, I can see myself falling for this band quickly if their music is as good as this.  I do need little time to get used to Ryotarou’s vocals, but it’s only when he stresses it out like he did on the A-side…he didn’t even do it that much in the B-sides…Let’s see if “Mirai Iro” is as good!