Marginal #4 make their comeback with “Yo-Ho!!“. With 8 singles under their belt how did Marginal#4 fared? Are they still experiencing a slump? Did they comeback stronger than ever? More on this below.
More details under the cuff.
Single: Yo-Ho!! Label: Rejet Release date: 11/11/15 Genre: J-Pop
1. Yo-Ho!! 2. Oh My WOLF♥BOY (Toshiki Masuda and KENN) 3. もぅまんたい (Naozumi Takahashi and Yuto Suzuki) 4. MIRACLE WORLD
Track by track analysis:
Showcasing a completely different sound Marginal #4 bring us “Yo-Ho!!“, a mid-tempo pop-rock track where acoustic guitars are mandatory, replacing the customary powerful guitar riffs and synths from “Ufo“. In a track that is incredibly pleasing to listen – with a well thought arrangement and finally – really finally – a chorus that is not overcrowed or where people sound totally off their element. The vocal parts were also well distributed between the members – with everyone having basically the same amount of time as others to shine – that is so well done in the chorus where members take turns in pairs to sing their parts. With all these minor changes Marginal #4 managed to make the best out of their lineup. The instrumental gives off that “pirate”, picturesque vibe to the all song. Fared well for a title track and was an interesting change away from all those synths. 4/5
2. Oh My WOLF♥BOY
The first duo to make their entrance consists of KENN and Toshiki Masuda – usually known for their out-of-the-box tracks. But if you were expecting something crazy, you know, in that thin line between funny and embarrassing as some of their previous duo attempts, then this time you’re wrong. While synths are still a big part of the song those don’t take up much spotlight away from the mesmerizing bassline provided not by your common bass guitar – it is the powerful and classy contrabass leading the way. With jazz/chillout influences the instrumental picks up the best elements out of both worlds (jazzy guitars, rhodes pianos and those soothing pads in the background), bringing them together with pop synths and synthetic drums. The instrumental piece might not be enough to please you so for your entertainment you’re provided with a duo totally in-sync and for the first time managing to stay on the same tone, not straying away too much. Solid performance on both ends that made this misleading track sound appealing. 4.5/5
The next duo in line is the well known high note hitters, Naozumi Takahashi and Yuto Suzuki. In a track that once again is misleading – that intro with the biwa, shamisen and harp really steered our attention away from any prossible surprises, especially the ones we got as soon as the first verse started. もぅまんたい is a full out pop-rock track with gritting guitar riffs, splashy drums and once again the spotlight – the slap bass. Without synths or other pop artifices, this track really shines at its fullest with its simplicity – adding traditional japanese and chinese elements – shamisen and featuring the biwa in some parts of the pre-chorus was clever and didn’t sound of of place. The vocal performance was energetic and engaging, especially taking into account that both performers are known for being in their natural habitat when they’re singing ballads, not rock songs. Fun performance and great effort from both singers. 4.5/5
4. MIRACLE WORLD
Synths mixed with orchestral elements? Yes, it’s that but only for the intro – don’t be mistaken with the misleading intro – once again -. This is a track that could have been part of the “Uta no Prince Sama” series songs and people wouldn’t find it out of place. Ethereal synths, jazzy guitars, a perfect build up towards a hyped chorus (and how much do we love these hyped choruses?), powerful snary drums and that bassline to die for are just a small part of all the elements present in one of the most complete instrumentals in Marginal #4‘s repertoire. You need several listens to completely find out those small, barely unnoticeable elements in the background but it’s worth the challenge. In the instrumental track we also have to point out the nice ending touch with the music box and the guitar(s) solo in the bridge. The vocal performance was right on point – controled vocals with all members going for both high and low notes successfully. The best we’ve heard from Marginal #4 this year. 5/5
How often do appearances betray you?
Well in this single those managed to fool us all the time. From misleading titles to misleading intros we had a little bit of everything. But we can’t say that we aren’t satisfied with this release. It’s been a long time since we went all out to praise one of Marginal #4‘s releases from start to finish but this one really deserves it. This time it seems that everything was done with an extra care for the vocal parts. Less overcrowded instrumental tracks left open spots for each of the members to shine, funky guitars and bass to gave more power and richness to the warm vocal performances, everything was layed out close to perfection.
Each of the members improved – and that is especially noticeable with Toshiki and Yuto – that seem that have finally grasped the vocal control they needed. KENN and Naozumi are… well, basically showing off how solo artists are and what they do best.
While this is still a little bit far away from their best, it’s nice to see Marginal #4 finally back on their feet after one year struggling with poor releases.
It’s time to say: Welcome back Marginal #4!
“Yo-Ho!!” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.