SolidS “Back On Track” (Review)

SolidS‘ didn’t spare anything for “Back On Track“. There’s no escaping its summery vibe, that dreamlike soundscape and the vast improvements in the vocal department. SolidS’ have found their groove and nothing seems to stop them.

Title: Back On Track
Label: Tsukipro/Movic
Release date: 23/02/2018
Genre: Electronic Pop

Tracklist:

1 - Back On Track

Track analysis:

1 – Back On Track

If with “Burny!!!” fans got a taste of SolidS’ fiery, passionate side and with “Oka Ranman” got a glimpse of the unit’s up until now unknown delicate and classy side, with “Back on Track” fans are enveloped in a sexy, summery sound that fits like a glove with SolidS’ trademark mature side.

As mentioned above, “Back on Track” has a summery vibe, the kind of vibe perfect for a ride – and no, we’re not saying this because we’ve watched the anime series and the episode in which the song was first premiered. This vibe comes naturally. After listening to this song, you won’t be able to think about anything but a long drive by the seaside facing the sun setting. This song takes you into a breathtakingly beautiful soundscape, one you can’t and don’t want to escape from. The summery vibe materialized thanks to washy synths, soothing synth pads, progressive bassy synth leads, and a major focus on melodic acoustic guitar licks, funky guitar riffs and a laidback, mesmerizing bassline. The build up to the chorus, the bridge, everything was on point. Every single element was crafted and performed with care and attention to fit with the group’s vibe, the vocals within the group and the whole imagery that the producing/composing team wanted the listener to experience while listening to this piece. Major kudos to John Zeroness for yet another fitting, top tier instrumental.

Vocally, this song is too hot to handle, not because of the lyrics but due to the way the song was performed – especially with all the improvements on the vocal end. With a perfect instrumental as the backdrop, it was expected for the vocal performances to, at least, be on par or a bit better. However the unit upped their ante, and we got a flawless performance from them.

Eguchi and Umehara’s bassy vocals are perfect to make a song like this sound sexy. It’s the reality. They nailed it, especially Umehara that is on top of his game for this performance. Remember that hope of ours that Umehara would turn into a reliable baritone, all because Eguchi alone wasn’t enough to handle the tenors taking over the group’s vocals? Well, he’s finally made it. He turned into a reliable baritone. Umehara’s growth has led to this moment as a singer. His vocals nailed low and high notes with the same precision as he has been nailing his mid-tones, and not even once did he sounded out-of-place, forced or struggling to keep up. His tone despite being usually deep (when talking), when singing it is a bit different. It still has a bit of the power and bassy elements on its core but those are delivered in a gentle manner by Umehara. It’s an interesting way to make good use of his range. Umehara was comfortable, and this performance thoroughly exudes it. A round of applause for him because his performance was the best we have ever heard from him.

Eguchi was his comfortable self, doing a little bit of everything. From harmonies to ad-libs, vibrato, high notes, bass notes, he was on all fronts showing that his versatility is essential to SolidS‘ balance and unity. He continues to be the backbone for this unit.

And because an alluring song needs contrasting tones, we shift our focus from the baritones to the in-house tenors.

If there was an award for the duo that was more into it for this performance, it’d be handed to Hanae and Saito. Making good use of their wide range, Hanae and Saito made sure to be the highlights, or at least, performed with that mindset. One can tell by their performance that they enjoyed this song and were feeling it when they were in front of the mic. Between crafty sexy low tones and smooth falsettos, courtesy of Saito, to jaw dropping high notes and melodic delivery from Hanae, and ad-libs, these ones being a massive danger for any of their fans – as well as an essential part into creating this sexy, laidback vibe -, this duo really poured their hearts into this song.

With Saito’s improved high notes and falsetto, as well as a polished control over his mid-to-low tones – it’s noticeable that his voice doesn’t waver anymore during long mid-toned notes -, there’s a new dynamic in tenor territory, usually Hanae’s playground. Sharing high note and ad-lib duties with Saito proved to be one of the best things to happen to this unit.

Even if both are, in essence, tenors, their ranges are completely different which is a plus for this unit. In result, both will sound unique and avoid having overlapping, undistinguishable vocals. We don’t usually dive into the technical side of the vocal performances, but we’ll do it briefly so that you can understand a bit of why they work so well together. Aside from the basic tenor C3 to C5 range, Hanae can go up to C6 and Saito, despite being able to tackle some notes close to C6, is more comfortable going down the scale to C2, hence their tones complement each other perfectly. Hanae prefers high notes and Saito low ones, the cover more “ground” together. When listening to this song, there won’t be an instance in which you won’t be able to tell apart who’s on high note duty, they are that unique and performing on different sides of the scale. The teamwork on this side of the unit was impressive and their performance was not only ethereal, but also sexy.

The mix between the addictive instrumental and the vocal performances with their baritones – Eguchi, Umehara – and tenors – Hanae, Saito – giving their all to impress, led to an utterly perfect performance. This song was taylor made for their vocals and the unit’s concept, and the whole concept was pulled off  better than with “Burny!!!” and “Oka Ranman”.

Back on Track” is a top tier song worthy of song of the year as well as best insert song on TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION. It is also SolidS’ best song to date.

This is the final piece on SolidS’ Holy Trilogy (a concept we’re come up with after reviewing all three releases included in the anime) that includes the fire and passion of “Burny!!!”, the contemporary traditional beauty of “Oka Ranman” and now the laidback sexiness of “Back on Track”.

We’re open to change the denomination to SolidS’ Holy Tetralogy if 運命を越える”Venga” ends up being as impressive as it sounded in that short preview released a couple of months ago. We look forward to review it.

All in all, if there’s a definition of perfect, it’s this song. There’s no escaping its vibe, soundscape and vocals. SolidS’  have you within their grasp from start to finish.

SolidS‘ are officially on an unstoppable run after finding their groove. Nothing seems to be stopping them any sooner.

This song is only available for those that purchase the 3rd volume of TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION.

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