Recently debuted in the music industry, seiyuu Kensho Ono releases now his 1st mini-album under the Japanese label Lantis. His debut release was the upbeat, aggressive, “rocky” – “Fantastic Tune” – featured as the ending theme for the second season of the famous basketball anime “Kuroko no Basket”. Now Kensho brings us a new release, with a new overlook of his sound and sytle.
Details on the mini-album:
Album: Touch my Style Label: Lantis Release date: 25/06/14 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
NEEDLESS TO SAY
ON THE ROAD
ONE OF PIECES
Starting discreetly, TOUCH kicks off the album with all the focus on the guitar provided by R.O.N, that has also worked previously with Kensho in his first single. This track is strongly backed up by the robust and perceptible bass and guitar, reminding us a bit, if we were forgotten, of Kensho’s debut single, where the guitars were owners of the spotlight at all times. We can also notice those small bits provided by R.O.N‘s guitar that make all OLDCODEX notice how similar those sound (R.O.N is a former bandmate of seiyuu Tatsuhisa Suzuki, now working on his own projects and helping providing guitar parts or even arrangements for some artists in the business) compared with some old OLDCODEX‘s tracks. Putting that apart, this is a upbeat, full-fledged rock track with some good moments, not that elaborate, simpler like the guitar solo in the outro that turned out to be a good addition to the track. 4.5/5
2- NEEDLESS TO SAY
Starting with a prominent, powerful bass, leading the way for the rest of the instruments, NEEDLESS TO SAY is a catchy tune from start to finish, be it for the funky bass or for the synths giving the track a more danceable touch to it, clearly showing influences of the highly danceable K-Pop, but not textbook K-Pop in this rock track. With all these elements, the chorus really shines and turns out to be incredibly catchy, on the other side, once again we have a melodic guitar solo with Kensho delivering fiercely each and every verse. Join all this elements and the stage is set for him to prove that his vocals are developing, sounding good. It’s interesting to listen him dabbling on high and low notes almost simultaneously. That gamble was well rewarded with Kensho hitting those high notes without failing completely. This is a more “easy to the ears” kind of track (or mainstream if you want to use that term) than the previous one, reaching a wider audience with its pop. 4.5/5
A ballad is now brought forward to us with the once again the bass in the complete spotlight together with a slow paced guitar and the drums. The instrumental piece adds that extra fuel needed for Kensho to pull off this ballad without sounding corny, it’s actually a breath of fresh air in this single, giving a bit of a more laidback feel to the track. Regarding the vocal track, Kensho shows some improvements, trying to incorporate more elements in his singing, handling well the quick changes between high and low notes. It’s an interesting ballad, Kensho‘s first one and it doesn’t disappoint at all. 4.5/5
4- BLUE HORIZON
Starting off with the synths once again, BLUE HORIZON is definitely a track with its instrumental made almost completely for the dancefloor, besides this fact there are still some rock elements left in this track that simply take over in the chorus, with its energetic bass working together with the guitars and the synthetic drums to create a unique sound. The guitar parts are played beautifully, adding an extra edge to the track with an unusual solo in the outro in a track that seemed, at the beginning, “dancefloor ready”, but turned out to be a good mix between pop and rock. We cannot dismiss the fact that this song also has some hints of k-pop in it (provided by the synths). 4.5/5
5- ON THE ROAD
Breaking the pace once again and getting away from the “dancefloor ready” tracks, comes a strong rock track resorting to powerful guitar riffs and the drums and the bass adding the final touches, encompassing its sound. This track is the polar opposite of PHASE, whereas one is a ballad and quieter, ON THE ROAD is a livelier, fast tempo-ed song. The solo is simply amazing and the double-bassed performance provided by the drums by the end of the track is just astonishing. 4/5
6- ONE OF PIECES
Breaking the pace once again from the high throttle, rock tracks or even the k-pop influenced ones, ONE OF PIECES is another song that allows Kensho to showcase his developing vocal skills and control. With the synth pads, the piano and with the funky guitar this song is probably the most cheerful one in the whole album because of its rhythm and overall instrumental piece. Out of nowhere Kensho starts to rap some of the lyrics before entering the solo of the piano and guitar which was a good surprise. An entertaining track in an album full of surprises. 4/5
This mini-album showed that Kensho has improved overall whether we think about his vocal control showed many times like in NEEDLESS TO SAY, PHASE or ONE OF PIECES, but then we cannot forget rock songs like TOUCH or ON THE ROAD that definitely make one remember his fierce, upbeat first single. It’s obvious that there was a lot more experiments with how Kensho‘s music is presented or how should his music sound. This release presents us a wider range of genres and styles incorporated in his sound, not getting way too attached to his debut amped up rock sound supported by R.O.N‘s signature guitar riffs that make each and every track upgrade its amped up “gauge”. Kensho tried as well to incorporate k-pop elements specially with the synths that get anyone hooked on, with its best examples provided by NEEDLESS TO SAY and BLUE HORIZON. Like every artist in their debut year, Kensho is still treading his way slowly and carefully in the business as if he was treading on thin ice. It’s an awkward position to be in, but its in those times that there’s room for experiments, improvements and little changes to achieve the best sound or at least the intended sound behind his name.
Overall this mini-album is pretty solid without any really troubling points or weak tracks, taking in attention that Kensho has only debuted early this year in the music business, it’s commendable how he’s doing one hell of a good job trying to innovate in his songs and in shaping his own sound as well.
“Touch the Style” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.