Trignal bring us their new mini-album “Plus“. After a thunderous release last year, the group tries their best to match up its quality and deliver something their fans will remember.
Let’s kick off this review.
Mini-album: PLUS Label: Kiramune Release date: 18/05/16 Genre: J-Pop
1. Kiss Plus 2. PANORAMA SODA 3. 星空センチメント 4. Blazing 5. We are Trignal!!! 6. HOME
Track by track analysis:
1. Kiss Plus
Trignal kick off this mini-album with the summer oriented “Kiss Plus“. With a rich progressive dance-pop sound, this track is a successful attempt to reach the top quality “MISSION“, released back last year. Although “Kiss Plus” has the instrumental track layed out in a slightly different way, resorting to a slowed down instrumental in the verses, all thanks to the dubstep synths in the background, but when we reach the chorus the track really explodes in emotion and energy, leaving it impossible not to dance along to it. A repetitive piano melody leads the background as synths, synthetic drums and a funky guitar join in. This instrumental is made for the summer, there’s no way around. Vocally this track just shows what we’ve been saying lately about the group: Trignal have improved a lot and in “Kiss Plus” everyone is in tune; props to the one on rapper duty, Takuya Eguchi, the multitalented shining guy in Trignal once again dazzling us with his flow and low vocals. Kimura, that back in the days wasn’t that really a focus on the chorus, now is the main guy when you get to that part, not only blending with his mates, but also setting himself apart from them, shinning an extra bit in the chorus. Yonaga is impressing a lot these days, his high and mid tones are essential to this unit as much as we need air to survive. He’s really the one setting a different factor to this group. As a whole when we’re presented with such a powerful track right off the bat, we can’t help but to be excited about the rest of the release. 5/5
2. PANORAMA SODA
Naming sense wise this track isn’t the smartest one, but despite it’s appearances, “PANORAMA SODA” gives us a little bit of exciting pop-rock, putting the massive synths and tricks aside and giving way to a whole band sound resorting to melodic guitar riffs, mid-tempo drums, an enveloping bassline with some strings + piano in the background to give the final touches to this track. In this textbook pop-rock track, we’re even gifted with a jazzy/melodic guitar solo before the bridge, making things come full circle as this track blinks an eye to their debut days. Vocally it’s a weaker track in comparison with the previous one but only because the vocal assignments left some members sounding weird at times. Having Eguchi with loads of high notes to unload is not the wisest decision ever made since his vocals are a better fit for a lower register, tending to sound too forced/strained when prompted to reach/adapt to high notes. Putting that aside, the track escapes with a solid: 4/5
Make way for Trignal‘s ballad! With a slow tempo instrumental focused around acoustic elements more than going full guns blazing with the piano only to render listeners to their knees, “Hoshisora Sentimento” tones down all electric guitars, heavy synths and have acoustic guitars take their place alongside splashy drums, a gentle bassline and ethereal synths, adding the final touches to the track. Turning our attention to their vocal performance, this track manages to cover up those uneasy vocal assignments from the previous track, putting everyone shining in the type of registry they actually sound at their best. Delivering each line with their emotions in check, the three of them make the listener immersed in the track from start to finish. Individually we need to point out Kimura‘s slightly huskier entrances into the verses (a quirk that he often does while singing but has become natural for fans to listen and disregard it), roughing up the first notes into his parts, add a little bit of uniqueness to the vocal track. 4.5/5
Back to the progressive synths and dance driven instrumentals, “Blazing” takes things into a more comfortable terrain for Trignal, a genre where they shine: powerful, melodic and addicitive dance-pop tracks. With heavy synths, soothing synths pads in the background, piano, funky slap bass and synthetic drums, this instrumental manages to keep everything compact, sounding great without sounding overcrowed or cheesy. Turning our attention to the vocal performances: wow, just wow. Everything is on point with and on this track (besides the auto-tuned vocals in some parts), Eguchi is dazzling rapping, being joined by Yonaga in the first verse, led by Kimura‘s soothing mid-tones. The formula repeats itself throughout the track with Eguchi and Yonaga later joining Kimura in the verses for more singing galore. The chorus is actually pretty addictive despite lacking the power that tracks like “Kiss Plus” and “MISSION” have. Power track without being as deadly as the last two mentioned ones. 5/5
5. We are Trignal!!!
Penned by Trignal themselves, “We are Trignal!!!” comes as a statement, a funny and entertaining one. With funky guitars and bass, some splashy drums and brass, this track is a bundle of fun with a jazzy / 50’s surf rock touch to it. This is a track that really brings back some classic elements to it: the retro organ playing in the background, the way the background vocals were used, the jazzy bridge, everything sounded great and didn’t fail to make an impact on us. Vocally this track has so much going on: main vocals, ad-libs, background vocals, spoken intermissions, everything is set at almost the same time in the verses, but fantastically enough, those things overlap in a fun way not making the main attraction – the main lyrics – fall behind or completely disappear. No ridiculous overcrowding or awkward vocals are found in this track. The lyrics are engaging and each of the members gave an extra bit on their parts to make this track shine. 4.5/5
With a soulful piano and mermerizing strings, “HOME” sets the tone for this goodbye to “Plus“. Timpani, strings (violins and cellos mainly), oboe and other incredibly amazing orchestral elements, this track really brought everything you could ask for a heartfelt ballad. A beautiful track to end this single, emotional, delicate and heartfelt. The perfect ending track. Total sync and deliverance to the lyrics made Trignal shine in the chorus like no other, building up in emotion, leaving the listeners baffled. “HOME” is by far, one of their best ballads, no arguing on that. 5/5
Although “Plus” performed badly in ORICON (in comparison with their previous releases), not even reaching the top 10, we think that this is mini-album not only is a natural transition for the group but also a strong continuation of their never-ending improvements. Trignal has been growing steadly as seiyuu unit, maturing their sound, improving their vocal abilities and delivering interesting, addictive tracks along the way. It seems like the group has finally found their sound, those addictive progressive dance-pop tracks that grab our attention like if there was no tomorrow. “Kiss Plus” and “Blazing” showcase how that genre fits like a glove to their colors. On the other side ballads “星空センチメント” and “HOME” show that this unit can also tackle the genre and showcase their soulful selves but there’s still a lot of room to improvement for them to tackle perfectly the genre. Pop-rock track “PANORAMA SODA” blinked the eye to some of Trignal‘s early songs and first attempts to find a genre they were comfortable in. It was a nice blast from the past, fitting within the mini-album’s mood. In the end “Plus” is strong min-album, a tough candidate for mini-album of the year for us.
“PLUS” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.