Hiroshi Kamiya new mini-album “Harego” is finally out. This is the first out of a two consecutive mini-album releases this summer for the veteran seiyuu.
Mini-album: Harego Label: Kiramune Release date: 29/07/15 Genre: J-Pop
1. HA-RE? GO! 2. One sky,One way 3. 未来の足跡 4. VIVA LA FESTA!! 5. Neverland Glitter 6. 贅沢な時間
Track by track analysis:
1. HA-RE? GO!
A mesmerizing bassline leads the way in this laidback, bright pop-rock track. A fun song that brings out the best in Kamiya‘s singing, the sharp notes and his soothing mid tones in this kind of instrumentals really shine like no other. The instrumental piece sounds entertaining from start to finish. With mid-tempo drums, relaxed guitar riffs and that guiding bassline that blends all together, things are kept simple but sounding as great as ever. Proof that Kamiya doesn’t need to fully embrace that dancefloor anthem mindset that we got with “Start Again” to sound good. 5/5
2. One sky,One way
Keeping up with the pop-rock mood, “One Sky, One way” is your summer jam. With a mix of pop lyrics, and 90’s high school rock instrumental, this track puts things in a laidback mood without being boring or over repetitive. It’s just a good mix that is going to be part of this summer playlist for many people. Vocally, Kamiya‘s high notes in chorus impressed us. He’s not known as a good high noter hitter or even as a mere high note hitter, his vocals always ranged from the mid-tones to the soft high tones but nothing like what we get in this track. Kamiya certainly has improved his singing skills and those high notes by the end of each chorus, although short, sounded neat. As a whole this track calls us to the beach or to a drive by the seaside. 5/5
Bringing back his bright pop from his debut days, Kamiya kicks off this mellower song. With an acoustic feel provided by the acoustic guitars, piano and minimal drums, 未来の足跡 gets some couuntry rocks elements with the electric guitar distorted licks throughout the track. Simplistic, almost raw, Kamiya has a freeway to showcase his improved vocals and that’s just what he does. Relying to a big amount of high notes, Kamiya fared well and managed to match the feel of the instrumental. 4/5
4. VIVA LA FESTA!!
Sticking true to its title “VIVA LA FESTA!!” picks up latin elements to put together this fun dance track. Brass, fast drums, bongos lead the way in this track. The mix of of salsa, samba, reggae and pop shines in this uncommon track in Kamiya‘s repertoire. But as uncommon as it is, “VIVA LA FESTA!!” manages to be incredibly addictive and will certainly make you in the mood for some dancing. Fun instrumental with energetic vocals, a must if you’re up for some latin rhythms. 4.5/5
5. Neverland Glitter
Breaking away from the festive mood set by the previous track, “Neverland Glitter” brings back the electronic side to Kamiya‘s music that we all loved in “Start Again“. Although it’s a milder track in comparison with the heavy synth based “Start Again“, it feels almost the same but with a small twist: it mixes the best of both worlds in Kamiya‘s music, his bright pop with the electronica elements in the chorus – mainly the dirty progressive synths and the keytar solo in the bridge. A surprise in a release that was screaming laidback summer all over it, and certainly one of the most interesting tracks in this release. 4/5
And back to Kamiya‘s “default” sound, his bright, laidback pop, we’re presented with 贅沢な時間. Keeping up with the trend that was set right from the very beginning of this release, the happiness and gentlessness in this instrumental envelops the listener in a way that none of the previous tracks managed to do. From the instrumental to the vocal performance this track shone. This laidback piece was far from being the best track in the whole mini-album but it was still a solid way to complete our summer journey through it. 4/5
Keywords: “Laidback pop-rock“.
Those words seem to be the main concept for this release. A laidback, “summer-ish” release that really begs to be played in any summer party or even in a drive. It’s a big improvement in comparison with Kamiya‘s last release, ハレヨン. His vocals seem to have improved, some of the inconsistencies found there were nowhere to be found in this release, and one of the crucial points: from listening to this whole mini-album the listener gets the overall idea that was in the basis of it. The theme/concept is set right from the start. It was common for Kamiya‘s releases to be a bit all over the place but in this release we finally are presented with a solid concept and music genre. It might not seem like something most people care about but, if you take a bit of time to listen to something, it might as well not be a mess or ranging between almost every music genre just because.
Kamiya presented us with a complete mini-album that wasn’t too hard to keep up with but was as fun and entertaining as the dance tracks in “Start Again” and the pop-rock tracks that shone in ハレヨン. With this mix between Kamiya‘s best releases so far it was impossible for “Harego” to fall short.
“Harego” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.