apple-polisher “beat goes on/what have you done for…” (Review)

The electronic pop-rockers apple-polisher return with a new single. “beat goes on/what have you done for…” takes an interesting turn with polished vocals and unexpected instrumentals in what is the band’s best single to date.

Title: beat goes on/what have you done for...
Label: Asgard
Release date: 26/04/17
Genre: Electronic pop-rock/Dance

Tracklist:

1 - beat goes on
2 - what have you done for...
3 - beat goes on (instrumental)
4 - what have you done for... (instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – beat goes on

beat goes on” is not your typical apple-polisher song. While still retaining that mix of funky basslines, danceable beats and heavy guitars we find in most of their work, this song goes the extra mile and adds some emotional piano melodies, almost ditching the synth work they’re well known for. This song lends a lot of its heavy touch from the slower tempo, bass oriented drums and solid guitar work we’re presented with from start to finish. On the vocal side we have Aoi delivering one hell of an amazing vocal performance. His vocals have shaped up to fit with any genre but lately, he sounds at his best accompanied by guitars rather than preppy pop tunes. The control over his tone makes it easy to match the song perfectly. While the verses are rather smooth with an arsenal of falsetto ready to strike the listener, the chorus is powerful, relying more on Aoi‘s vibrato and high notes. There are some instances in which his singing strays a bit away from the overall feel of the song – especially between the first chorus and the second verse his singing style is haunting and strangely alluring. As a whole, “beat goes on” is one of the strongest songs by apple-polisher with a vocal performance as versatile and entertaining as the instrumental. 5/5 

2 – what have you done for…

Now this is where apple-polisher shine best. “what have you done for…” is a quiet loungy dance track that relies heavily on bass, funky guitar riffs and laidback synth pads. Although this song is not as action packed as the previous one, it doesn’t lack in any department. Its instrumental is easily addictive, with quiet verses and a catchy chorus that will have you singing along. And if the instrumental wasn’t suggestive enough, Aoi made great use of his singing technique to make his alluring vocal performance shine. Lowering his tone in the verses was surprisingly good and the use of vibrato and falsetto in chorus was something that caught our attention, adding a classy touch to his performance. “what have you done for…” might not be the party banger people tend to enjoy, but its refined instrumental and taylored vocals will low-key make you dance. 5/5

Final rating:

apple-polisher are known for their exciting mix between heavy guitar riffs and synths. But when fans come into contact with this single, it’s not exactly what they find. Both songs showcased something beyond what the band has been doing in the last couple of years. “beat goes on” takes on a heavier approach. It’s as if we were listening to a Liar-S song. It had that punk-pop sound that has been trademark for them. While not being a “typical” apple-polisher song, it was surprisingly good to find that this band can tackle such a song without relying too much on synths to do the extra edgy work for them. There’s some talk about this song and how weird and uncharacteristically it is, on our side we found it be a way of pushing the boundaries of a group that has been heavily rooted on synths and guitars since their debut.

Then we have the loungy dance track “what have you done for…“. This one sounds more alike what the band has in their repertoire, but it wasn’t because of that that we gave full marks to this song. It’s actually nice to find two polar opposites in the same release and both of them, although different, sound like they rightfully belong there. This track is quieter, sexy and ditches the whole gloomy mood from “beat goes on“. Synths take a huge part of the instrumental being essential to set that alluring mood we get while listening to the song. Then we find Aoi doing an outstanding work in the vocal department. Going for a lower vocal registry, his performance managed to shine even more. Then he did what we’re used to – turn the alluring switch on and we were automatically bewitched by his performance. It’s safe to say that any band that has Shouta Aoi as their singer will greatly benefit with his controlled vocals plus versatile tone and polished techniques. Add some well crafted instrumentals and you have releases like this one: perfect.

beat goes on/what have you done for… is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

 

Author: Vanessa Silva (midorin)

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Metalhead. Gamer. Based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to start writing about male seiyuu music.