Hiroshi Kamiya and Daisuke Ono “Coin Toss Drive” (Review)

DGS

Hiroshi Kamiya + Daisuke Ono bring you “Coin Toss Drive“, an album that looks back at their previous hits without forgetting to pitch in some new ones. The fan favorite pair reminds everyone why they still are one of the most exciting duos in the seiyuu business.

DGS

Title: Coin Toss Drive
Label: U&R records
Release date: 13/03/2017
Genre: Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

01.僕達だけの物語
02.Smiley Time
03.Teller’s nights
04.ツムギイト
05.Shiny × Shiny
06.TEN-der land
07.Masochistic Over Beat
08.この歌がとぎれないように
09.Ace of Asia
10.Monster’s Show
11.Glow My Way
12.30minutes Shootin’ Star
13.TRIBE DRIVE
14.Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~(2017 ver.)
15.FLYING IN THE SKY

Track by track analysis:

01. 僕達だけの物語

Remember this song? 僕達だけの物語 (Our Story) was released back in 2012 and is a fan favorite. Like most of you might remember, 達だけの物語 is an upbeat pop-rock tune with bright lyrics that is certain to put a smile on your face. After a couple of years without listening to this song, it still put a smile on our face when we noticed that the outro is still one of the most exciting parts in this song. The vocals were retouched but not re-recorded as it is, from what we can tell, the exact the same vocal track. The instrumental’s overall quality increased – the volume in the original version was rather low in comparison with this new one. 僕達だけの物語 is still a good song in our books. 4.5/5

02. Smiley Time

With “Smiley Time” we go back to 2011. We always found this song a little bit underwelming and that is exactly because of the way the whole song was arranged. In the verses we can clearly listen to Ono and Kamiya‘s performances. The instrumental is rather quiet during those parts, with only background guitar riffs, slow paced drums and a rhodes piano guiding the way. But whenever the chorus kicks off, we can’t help but to feel that those two voices can’t standout because there’s too much happening in the background. “Smiley Time” had potential to be a good song but the instrumental is more on that spotlight than it should have been. 4/5

03. Teller’s nights

Funky “Teller’s nights” was released in 2012, part of the 僕達だけの物語 (Our Story) single. Melodic guitar riffs, addictive bassline and slow paced, hi-hat driven drums, strings and a loungy piano melody made this song, one of the duo’s best tracks. It’s soft, relaxing and soothing, completely different from their usual songs. Back in 2012, Kamiya and Ono‘s vocal performances impressed us, they always sounded in sync, the only problem at times was the big difference between singing tones. This song changed all that. Their performance was melodic and on point. This song survived the test of time and, 5 years later, it still sounds fresh and incredibly addictive. Easily one of the duo’s best songs. 5/5

04. ツムギイト

[As previously reviewed]  ツムギイト is an addictive dance pop track released back in 2013, part of “Glow My Way“, one of the duo’s most successful single. Flashy synths lead a way in a song that has a very powerful chorus. This is not your average radio show ending theme song. Hiroshi Kamiya and Daisuke Ono exceeded themselves with this one. This song is as catchy as it could get. The guitar solos are great and the drums are pretty energetic, fitting quite well with the synths. The piano parts have a classic electro/house touch that, at times, sounds dreamy. Regarding the vocals, both of them were on their best form. Ono as always completely dominates the lower notes while Kamiya deals with the higher notes, making both of them sound in perfect unison in the chorus. One of the duo’s best tracks. 5/5

05. Shiny × Shiny

Shiny × Shiny is a playful pop song with funky guitars, brass and strings to bring to life that upbeat, brightness in the lyrics. This song is far from being the duo’s best one. The way in which the vocal parts were distributed is, in our opinion, a bit disappointing. Although it’s normal to have the verses chopped in different parts for each member to take turns in singing those, we have that but with weird transitions in the mix. This might be only us being picky but it seems a little bit odd. Definitely an entertaining song but nothing more than that. 3.5/5

06. TEN-der land

With a dramatic entrance, TEN-der land is a fast paced pop-rock song with a whole lot going on. Strings, brass, piano and guitars join the mix but the spotlight goes to the calypso inspired melody, yes a calypso melody that plays a major role alongside the splashy drums to create the fast paced melody we’re presented with. There’s even time for vocoders and other fancy things if you pay attention to the song. Keeping up their trademark, this song is upbeat and the lyrics are bright. 4/5

07. Masochistic Over Beat

[As previously reviewed] “Masochistic Over Beat” starts off strong with an addictive beat – the fast, double bassed drums, the aggressive guitar riffs and the strong bassline alongside the synths make this track very reminiscing of GRANRODEO‘s early days. It’s that kind of rock track that will impress you, be it for how different Hiroshi and Ono sound alongside a rock instrumental track or for the impressive guitar solo during the bridge together with a powerful bass solo. 4.5/5

08. この歌がとぎれないように

[As previously reviewed] We’re presented with “Kono uta ga togirenai yō ni” (roughly translated as: This song won’t be stopped), a slow paced rock ballad. The instrumental strays away from the aggressive guitars, speedy drums and heavy synths and gives us a stripped out MOB sound, resorting to acoustic guitars, slow paced drums, a more quiet bass and a beautiful piano to embellish the track. It’s a simple formula that puts the main focus on the piano and the acoustic guitar. On the vocal track we’re presented with Kamiya and Ono on the top of their game, their performance is emotional, a perfect blend with the beautiful instrumental – that graces us with a mesmerizing acoustic guitar solo and strings performance. It’s a simple song and yet so beautiful. 5/5

09. Ace of Asia

[As previously reviewed] “Ace of Asia“ is MOB‘s well known track that was featured as the opening theme to Dear Girl Stories “Ace of Asia” movie, released back in 2014. This track made a good impression right into the first seconds into the song. It’s a mid-tempo rock track resorting to technical guitar riffs, fast drumming, solid bass playing (maybe one of the big highlights in this band) and the interesting addition of synths to give them that 80’s rock band feel. Both Ono and Kamiya seem to fit the best with the rock genre – that has been proved even in the solo releases in which the best tracks were almost always the rocking ones. Solid vocal performance alongside a powerful instrumental with oriental hits and bits provided by the synths. Really an “ace of asia“. 4.5/5

10. Monster’s Show

Changing completely their sound, “Monster’s Show” is a fast paced jazzy rock song that doesn’t lack excitement, released back in 2015. Everything about this song’s instrumental is perfect. The fast guitar riffs and bassy drums are an essential part of this song, adding the necessary edge to this song. Brass, sax, rhodes piano and a delicate piano melody put the jazz in this song in a perfect song. Despite how fast paced and lively it is, this song is classy, and Kamiya and Ono‘s performances play a big role in making this song and even more exciting experience for us. Their vocals are stable and full of energy, it’s impossible not to be infected by this performance. Listening to this song will lead to mild cases of singing along, beating your feet on the floor to the beat, occasionaly headbanging or even some dancing. This is a monster song, one of the duo’s finest songs. 5/5

11. Glow My Way

[As previously reviewed] “Glow my way” is an upbeat song and, like most of the previous opening songs featured on the DGS, it turns out to be instantly addictive. Brass, melodic guitar riffs, a rich bassline that is carefully adding depth to the song despite being always in the background, and simple drums make this instrumental, one of the most entertaining ones in their repertoire. As far as vocal performances go, we can comfortably say that Ono and Kamiya match well the whole preppy/upbeat vibe and deliver yet another exciting performance. 4.5./5

12. 30minutes Shootin’ Star

30minutes Shootin’ Star is one of the brightest songs on this release. The high tension, party vibe we get from this song is due to the energetic vocal performance. The instrumental alone features mid-tempo drums, fast paced guitar and piano melodies, simple bass and, of course, brass to make things sound a little bit “preppier” than usual. 30minutes Shootin’ Star is a fun song, we recommend listening to this one if you’re lacking some excitement but we also warn you, this song will tire you by the second chorus. 4/5

13. TRIBE DRIVE

TRIBE DRIVE slows down a little bit, presenting us with a slow paced, toned down bass driven pop-rock sound. The instrumental’s highlight is, undoubtly, the noticeable bassline. For those of you that love good basslines or bass-driven songs, TRIBE DRIVE is the song for you. Of course, the bass is not everything on this song. Brass, rhodes piano, funky guitar riffs and hi-hat driven drums complete the instrumental’s lineup. Kamiya and Ono’s vocals are more than comfortable with this music genre and between themselves, that is noticeable during their performance. Yet another bright song for you. 4/5 

14. Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~(2017 ver.)

Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~ is one of their songs that has undergone several changes over the years. The song was initially a pop-rock tune the, MOB took it and completely changed the instrumental, dressing it in a pop-punk/rock fashion. Now, for this album we find this song back again in its original sound. Although a major part of the excitement this song had in rock form is now gone, this song is still a classic. Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~ was released in 2011 and, like we’ve mentioned before, the song has changed sound a couple of times. On our side we’re more fond of MOB‘s powerful rendition of the song rather than the original one. This new version of Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~ is not that different from the original one and lacks a bit in excitement. As it is, this song is a good radio opening/ending song, nothing more. 4/5

15. FLYING IN THE SKY

To complete this release we find “FLYING IN THE SKY“, song released in 2015 part of “Monster’s Show” single. This song brings a 80’s rock sound to an album filled with upbeat pop-rock tunes. The synths play a big role in setting the retro vibe we’re getting from this song. At the same time synthetic drums and simple guitar riffs join in bringing the whole old-school rock sound come to life. Don’t expect fast paced melodies or all out preppy songs, “FLYING IN THE SKY” strays away from all of that and embraces a toned down, fun rock sound that you won’t forget. If all these retro touches weren’t enough, the bridge features a solo by none other than the epitome of retro, the keytar. The vocal performances were quieter and less upbeat, something we throughly enjoyed. A good way to close this release. 4.5/5

Final rating:

Coin Toss Drive” is their second Best Of album. Regardless of it featuring songs from Hiroshi Kamiya + Daisuke Ono duo or MOB‘s songs, this album is full of great, exciting tunes that will brighten up your day.

Rather than re-record everything, especially the old songs, this release simply retouched those and added the songs from 2014 up until now without changing a thing. It’s nice to notice that even without changes, most of these songs have survived the test of time and are still as exciting as when they were released, Teller’s nights and 僕達だけの物語 are two good examples of that. We would have loved to have MOB‘s version of Say Your Name!~Dear Girl~ included in this album instead of its pop version (the original one).

After revisiting their songs, we came to the conclusion that this duo has been incredibly consistent over the years. Their songs almost never strayed away from a bright, preppy sound, and the wide majority has catchy choruses, funky instrumentalization and solid vocal performances that will get stuck in your head.

“Coin Toss Drive” is the got-to album if you’re trying to get to know Hiroshi Kamiya + Daisuke Ono‘s music as well as a fantastic compilation of fan favorite songs.

This review was possible thanks to Tori626’s sponsored CD.

Coin Toss Drive” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.