ELEKITER ROUND 0 are back with a new mini-album あの日の茜空の下で (Ano Hi no Akanezora no Shita de) is the group’s 8th minialbum and their second release this year, the follow up to the thunderous “Re:Quiem“. Is this mini-album riding on the momentum left by their flawless “Re:Quiem” or is this something on a completely different league?
Let’s kick off this review.
Mini-album: あの日の茜空の下で Label: Marine Entertainment Release date: 26/11/15 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
Track by track analysis:
1 – あの日の茜空の下で
In this beautiful ballad we’re instantly impressed, not only by the sweetness of the instrumental with a flawless piano and soothing acoustic guitars but also by the impressive vocals – both Hino and Tachibana are sounding smoother and more precise even showing us that they also can nail falsetos – something that they barely ever do in their tracks. But if you’re thinking, as you’re reading this review, that this track is just like “Summer Snow” or “Kiseki“, you’re far from the correct answer. This is something new for both of them. The instrumental is quieter than on any of those tracks, putting the main focus completely on the vocals and the mood is even sweeter. Simple and honeyed, this track might not be anything like what we got from ELEKITER ROUND 0 at the beginning of the year, but it is amazing nevertheless. 5/5
2 – サヨナラのハナビ
The first solo song makes its appearance. It’s time for Satoshi Hino to show us what he’s made of in his self penned track. “Sayonara no Hanabi” is a ballad song that features slow paced drums, the bass as the core of the track, a delicate piano and acoustic guitars to complete the lineup. Simple and emotional, this is the first time that Hino has opted to write a slow paced ballad – he’s known for his upbeat, classy tracks so this came out as a surprise, and a good one to boot. Vocally this track is incredibly demanding, often putting Hino on a role of highly demanding higs and lows – that he manages to deliver effectively. 4.5/5
3 – 常春ノ大華
“Tokoharu no Hana” is Tachibana‘s solo track and self penned track. Taking on a more traditional approach resorting to the shamisen as the core of the track, the instrumental piece is more upbeat than expected by Tachibana the “emotional slow paced ballad writter”. For those who follow Tachibana‘s music releases for his character songs, this track is a bit similar to the one he released back in 2014 for Photograph Journey～in Kyoto～. It’s beautiful track with a solid vocal performance to go with. 4.5/5
4 – ガラスの薔薇
To complete this mellow release we’re presented with classy, slightly more upbeat track “Glass no Bara“. The duo shows off their romantic side and deliver a passionate performance in a track that slightly resembles the eye/ear catching “月の砂漠のジプシー” from last year’s “Kyoso no Rondo” with its fantastic acoustic guitar and bass work. With this latin touch the track manages to outshine all the other tracks featured in this slow paced romantic mini-album. Vocally Hino and Tachibana deliver each of their lines in the most emotional and smooth way ever. In the chorus both are in total sync. As a whole this track exceed our expectations and turned out to be our favorite. 5/5
ELEKITER ROUND 0 have completely changed their approach with this mini-album. Solo tracks are back, putting aside the whole group tracks that we got with “Re:Quiem“. This mini-album has an interesting feel and is a good answer to those who kept asking “where are the ballads?” in their last release. So if “Re:Quiem” was a little bit too aggressive for you, you can get its slow paced, overly mellow, romantic and sweet counterpart “Ano Hi no Akanezora no Shita de“.
It’s a simple mini-album with nothing much of impressive – this of course, not in a bad way at all -, it’s a solid released with all tracks on even ground, which is a rare thing to occur. This time we got a ballad from Hino and a slightly upbeat track by Tachibana and the results were fascinating – both have grown so much as lyricists, writing beautiful, emotional lyrics – some sadder than others but that’s how things go when you write romantic tracks.
The instrumentals resort primarily on acoustic guitars and piano and, for the most part of the time, those are so quiet that you barely notice them.
If you’re up for some ballads delivered by the duo that excels at writing them, then this is the mini-album for you. If you wanted ELEKITER ROUND 0 to deliver another high voltage rock album, then this is certainly not your cup of tea.
“Ano Hi no Akanezora no Shita de” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.