MARGINAL#4 “CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL” (Review)

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“MARGINAL#4 are gradually rising towards the top of the best seiyuu units in the business. And that is not an overstatement.”

MARGINAL#4 make this comeback with a new single. It hasn’t been a long time since we’ve heard something new from these guys since their Best of titled MARGINAL#4 THE BEST「STAR CLUSTER」, back in April.

Naozumi Takahashi, Toshiki Masuda, KENN and Yuto Suzuki are back with an explosive, scandalous single ready for this summer. “CHU CHU LUVSCANDAL” is MARGINAL#4‘s 4th single and the unit doesn’t seem to even think about slowing down even a bit. Their energetic, addictive pop with hits and bits of rock provided by MIKOTO‘s raging guitars and enveloping instrumental pieces is as fresh as when the unit debuted back in 2013. MIKOTO is responsible for the music arrangements in this single as expected (he’s working with the unit since their debut) but has also provided some of his skills to Diabolik Lovers character songs between many other things Rejet related.

What awaits us in this single? Let’s start with some details:

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Single: CHU CHU LUVSCANDAL
Release date: 16/07/2014 
Label: Rejet 
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL
2 - DREAM★JUICER
3 - HURRICANE X
4 - 愛パラドックス
5 - CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL (instrumental)
6 - DREAM★JUICER (instrumental)
7 - HURRICANE X (instrumental)
8 - 愛パラドックス (instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL

The title track kicks off in the steamiest way possible, staying true to its name, CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL goes all out with teasing the listener in its very beginning (this is MARGINAL#4‘s trademark). The setting set for this track seems to be the simplest ever (an after school confession) but that doesn’t even take an ounce of the entertainment this track provides. Putting the setting aside, this track has a bit of everything, without any exaggerations. As many might know MIKOTO‘s melodies are almost 90% written around the guitars and drums and those are the main foundation to this track, to be more precise, the main foundation for this unit’s sound. The raging guitars and the unstoppable drums set the pace for a track that, here and there, resorts to some drops in the tempo provided by the dubstep synths. It might sound insignificant but the cowbell sets the rhythm in the very beginning of the track and does the honors of closing its very curtain. It might have sounded bad in many other situations but turns out great in this track. It’s an energetic, captivating instrumental piece, a typical pop-rock track that will be playing in loop for many people. Taking the focus away of the instrumental towards the mesmerizing vocal track, we find Naozumi, KENN, Toshiki and Yuto giving their best showing us why they are the best vocal leveled units in the business (all baritones). In their individual parts each of them brings a bit of charm and energy to the track and in the chorus they do justice to the name “unit“, because they really sound incredibly well as one. Also a bit of rap in the outro provided by all the unit. A truly solid performance in a track that will, for sure, be replaying in our heads for a long time. 5/5


2 – DREAM★JUICER

Yeah guys, we’re really kicking off with juice on this one! Completely unusual start to this track but that doesn’t, in any way, make this track a bad one. Intro aside this is one of the best matchups in the unit. We kick this track with the first matchup of the day: KENN and Toshiki Masuda.  It’s amazing how they really complete each other’s vocals. DREAM★JUICER is a rock track to its core with the guitars taking the spotlight with little to no use of synths which is great for a change. The instrumental is upbeat, not too speedy with a lot of melodic parts here and there throughout the track. Props to the guitar work in this track that really outshines all the other instruments, the riffs are heavy, the solos are over the top and overall it brings all the performance together. On the vocal track we have KENN and Toshiki delivering a energetic, entertaining performance. These are the two unit members that best fit into the rock genre and this track couldn’t have been the best choice for them to show off.  DREAM★JUICER really shines in this single with KENN showing off his vibrato throughout the track and Toshiki delivering once again an intense performance. 5/5
3 – HURRICANE X 

A storm leads the path in this intro,  HURRICANE X goes towards a more electronic rock sound, a different side to this unit. HURRICANE X brings us the powerhouses in this unit together: Naozumi Toshiki and Yuto Suzuki. Without a doubt the whole unit is full of talented individuals but these two guys really stand out a bit too much in singing compared to Toshiki and KENN that really are the ones responsible for the unison this unit shows in every performance, they are a sort of “vocal levelers” (taking, sometimes, background work in some tracks), blending with the Naozumi and Yuto‘s duo, well versed in those high notes, falsettos and vibratos. Naozumi and Yuto could be called the highly technical side of the unit if we wanted to.

Yuto kicks off this track with slightly low vocals making way for Naozumi to join this hurricane of a track a deliver a powerful performance. It’s important to add that Yuto is as fast as lightning in this track delivering some of his verses with a pin point accuracy and speed that is unmatchable in this unit, his vibrato is there in full force in the chorus blending perfectly with Naozumi‘s vocals. A big wow for his performance that really stands out in this track. Naozumi on the other side is as mesmerizing as Yuto with his vibrato and powerful vocals, delivering each and every verse with a precision beyond amazing. When these two guys are together there’s possibly nothing that could go wrong and that can be proved with this track only. An excellent matchup making us crave for more. 5/5
4 – 愛パラドックス

And to close the curtains we have the whole unit performing 愛パラドックス (Love Paradox). Shots, ambulances, troops and the sound of water dripping in the tunnel make this an intriguing intro. A milder track in comparison with the previous ones. The guitars (deliver an interesting solo in the outro), drums (and the cowbell is back) with a bit of latin percussion in the outro, the strings, the bass and the piano make this instrumental track an interesting piece to listen to. It’s not aggressive like the previous ones or highly danceable like on some of M#4‘s singles. It goes towards a more mid tempo, melodic sound to bring out the vocals. The pre-chorus is one of the strongest parts in this track building up momentum towards a sweet, gentle chorus where the Naozumi, KENN, Toshiki and Yuto deliver a powerful and melodic performance. 4.5/5

Final rating: 4.5 stars

MARGINAL#4 are gradually rising towards the top of the best seiyuu units in the business. And that is not an overstatement.

Who would have thought that otome game company Rejet, responsible for games like the well known “Diabolik Lovers” or even “Ken ga Kimi“, would be capable of creating from scratch a seiyuu unit with a group of talented seiyuu well versed and overall incredibly vocally skilled and make, from these 4 men, a solid unit gathering more and more top singles and creating a big hype around them? Many would say: it’ll be a flop. A single, from a seiyuu unit that has only one year in the business, that debuts in Oricon charts and reaches #23 in front of some big names in Japan like KAMIJO is not a flop.

Rejet proved everyone wrong and easily created the best seiyuu unit in the business right now. Easily this could have been a place well deserved for units like ELEKITER ROUND 0 or STARISH back in the days but these guys managed to come on top. When you join veteran talents with younger ones with as much enthusiasm and will to improve as the veterans, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of room for improvement from both the individual and the unit. Naozumi Takahashi and KENN are already well known for being great singers and performers and they, together with Toshiki Masuda and Yuto Suzuki make this unit a whole without any hints of weaknesses. This is, without a doubt, a great unit with leveled voice tones, mainly baritones (making for some, a not so easy task to distinguish who is singing what part) but, overall, a unit in its full power with a lot of talent flowing through their veins.

MARGINAL#4 are set to perform at this year’s REJET FES and we hope their performance will be available in DVD & Blu-ray. It’ll be interesting to ascertain in a live context how great do they sound, here’s to us hoping that performance will be available somehow.

This was a great single so, in the meantime, keep ’em coming MARGINAL#4!

CHU CHU LUV♥SCANDAL is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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