Lagrange Point “Black Swan” (Review)


LAGRANGE

Lagrange Point are unstoppable and this time they present us the follow up to their debut single “Catastrophe“. Titled “Black Swan“, this is Lagrange Point‘s time to show their weapons and reinforce their position as a top tier seiyuu unit.

Let’s get this review started!

lagrange point

Lagrange Point version

Single: Black Swan
Label: Rejet
Release date: 15/10/14 
Genre: J-Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

1.BLACK SWAN
2.Never Sorrow
3.イチカバチカ
4.Goodbye残響(Echoes)!!!!
5.BLACK SWAN -off vocal-
6.Never Sorrow -off vocal-
7.イチカバチカ -off vocal-
8.Goodbye残響(Echoes)!!!! -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

1.BLACK SWAN

The place: a ballroom, the music: Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake Op.20-Suite, Iii. Danse Des Petits Cygnes. A better setting is impossible for an intro piece and this is the refined way we’re introduced to Lagrange Point. That classy intro is cut short as Lagrange Point make their glorified high voltage entrance with their addictive pop/rock. Black Swan is an electrifying track with aggressive guitar riffs, heavy basslines and strong drums – it’s the whole package as a rock instrumental – on the other side we have Toyonaga and Genki delivering their verses with the same energy, completely in sync and sounding way better than in their debut single. All this is great but the biggest and most impressive part of the track lies in the outro that mixes not only classic music, once again from Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake Op.20-Suite, but also a bassline to die for adding a bit of sexiness to this track. Following this outro we’re provided with a lightning speed guitar solo and a slower part giving space for Genki and Toyonaga to showcase their vocal skills. It’s a nice mix between classic and pop/rock without sounding off, the instrumental is at its best as well as the vocal performance delivered by this powerful duo. Black Swan, without a doubt, impresses from the very first listen. 5/5

2.Never Sorrow

And here comes a heartfelt ballad. Genki leads the way in this track alongside acoustic guitars, minimal drums and slow, emotional electric guitar riffs. This is a track where there’s a lot of place left open to explore vocally, it’s a ballad so we usually demand big vibrato and falsetto displays but, interestingly enough, this track has little of those. The sadness in these guitar riffs, giving the feel as if the guitar is crying, are the best lead to this instrumental piece. The drums are slow paced, with the bass drum making an even bigger impact reverberating in the background like an a heartbeat. The melancholy and sorrowfulness are incredibly well portrayed in this track with both Genki and Toyonaga raising up their game and delivering an incredibly powerful performance. All in all, a jewel in this single. 5/5

3.イチカバチカ

The black sheep in this single and we don’t need to think twice to say this, it’s more than clear that this is on a completely different level than the previous tracks, even in completely different mindset and environment. And yes, it sounds as off as I’m trying to explain. But the track repents for the bad/overwhelmingly cheesy intro with a solid body of work throughout the rest of the track. This track goes a bit more towards the electronic pop side than the heartfelt rock of “Never Sorrow” or even the electrifying aggressive rock in “Black Swan“. Is it bad? Is it good? You decide. But this track really sounds better without those humiliating 15 seconds in the intro – that is a given – the rest of the track sounds great with an engaging, entertaining instrumental, at times a bit overwhelming, but with amazing guitar work and, once again, a solid bassline that leads the way alongside the bass drum, giving a bigger impact to this track. The vocal work once again is of top tier quality with Genki showing that he can be on par with Toyonaga‘s flawless vocals. There’s a bit of battling between both of them starting in the outro, culminating in the final verses where Genki is completely on par with Toyonaga, a place where even Toyonaga‘s vibrato wasn’t able to make him sound even better than Genki. This is the kind of improvement that everyone loves to see in a singer – that time when a “not so gifted” singer manages to sing on par with someone “gifted” with a powerful vibrato or a master of falsettos – this is a joy to listen to. A track that only missed the target for a bit with that awful intro, but happily managed to get on its feet and redeemed itself, turning out to be a solid, entertaining track. 4/5

4.Goodbye残響(Echoes)!!!!

To complete this journey we’re presented with Goodbye残響(Echoes)!!!!. A track that kicks off pretty slowly almost tricking us into thinking of it going towards the “ballad route”. But to all our surprise (or not!), this track is once again a typical pop/rock piece betting on its speed to grab our attention after the classic, strings driven, intro. Goodbye残響(Echoes)!!!! has aggressive guitar riffs, unstoppable drums and a reverberating bass in the background keeping things simple. The guitar work deserves to be commended – just listen to the guitar solo by the end of the track – I tell you, it’s lightning fast and adds so much to this already great track. The vocal performance is spirited, keeping up with instrumental and making the final product sound cohesive.

Now, remember when I told you about that seductive outro in “Black Swan“? Well, this single comes full circle and so this track ends with that part where classical music blends with a fingered bass and manages to make one of the best blends I’ve ever heard. 4.5/5

Final rating: 4.5 stars

Lagrange Point are on top of their game. This is another impressive release making this unit’s stance in the music business rock solid. The concepts in this single turned out interesting, with the best concept being the one behind the title track “Black Swan“. Who would’ve thought of incorporating and adapting a classical piece such as Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake Op.20-Suite, Iii. Danse Des Petits Cygnes into this single? Of course “Black Swan” is a suggestive enough name to even make you wonder if it was inspired in some way by Tchaikovsky‘s piece, but you’d never thought that they would really incorporate parts of that piece into this track. Conclusion: “Black Swan” is one of the big highlights of this release. A track where the mix between the high throttle pop/rock, characteristic of Lagrange Point‘s sound, blends with the sounds of the past, bringing to the table a renowned classical piece. On the other side we have another highlight in this release. The heartfelt, sorrowful “Never Sorrow” brings us an overly emotional performance worthy of praise, it’s an emotional roller coaster where both the vocals and the instrumental really shine from the very first second. The final two tracks conclude this single in an interesting way but are completely overshadowed by the upper quality of both the title track and “Never Sorrow“.

On the instrumental side Lagrange Point show us that they never fail to deliver something incredibly addictive and engaging; on the vocal side we have fabulous performances in each and every track. Genki and Toyonaga sound great as a unit and have shown us new cards. Genki sounds incredibly in tune with Toyonaga, even able to be on par with Toyonaga‘s vibrato using only his baritone’s tone to help him along the way. It’s fascinating to listen to his growth in such a short period of time. Toyonaga is sounding as amazing as ever and performed with top quality in every single one of the singles’ tracks. To conclude this final overview: Solid instrumentals, solid vocals and solid concepts, all to make an incredibly solid release for Lagrange Point.

As said before, this seiyuu unit has a lot of untapped potential that, as soon as it’s discovered and re-channeled to the right places, it will make Lagrange Point take an important step towards being the best seiyuu unit in Japan. There’s room for more growth and we couldn’t be more excited about that.

The bar was set high with “Catastrophe” and those expectations were met, let us hope that this keeps up and Lagrange Point make their next release as good as this one or even better!

Finally we leave here the snippet of the whole single, courtesy of Rejet.

BLACK SWAN is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

Black Swan / LAGRANGE POINT
LAGRANGE POINT
Black Swan / LAGRANGE POINT
LAGRANGE POINT
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