MaM “Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3rd Series vol.11 MaM” (Review)

MaM’s Ensemble Stars! Unit series CD is a unique release that brought to the table rare, unexpected elements and music genres, added smooth vocals on it and mixed everything carefully in order to impress everyone.

MaM consists on Kousuke Toriumi.

Title: Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3rd Series vol.11 MaM
Label: Pony Canyon
Release date: 10/01/18
Genre: J-Pop/New wave/Country

Tracklist:

1 - Blooming World
2 - Festive!
3 - Blooming World (off vocal)
4 - Festive! (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

01 Blooming World

Blooming World” kicks off with a bright, funky instrumental in which synths and piano melodies are kings. This song quickly grabbed our attention due to its old-school 80’s pop/new wave vibe, mixing synths with strings and creating a sweet, laidback tune that everyone will easily enjoy. The verses are simple, putting aside synths and favoring piano melodies and guitar riffs instead. On the other side we find the chorus embracing saw synths and strings adding a summery vibe. The guitar solo on the bridge will have you on your toes, it was such a great addition to this instrumental, really adding those finishing touches to an instrumental that was already remarkable. On the vocal end Kousuke Toriumi impressed. Not only did he fit completely with the instrumental, but he also delivered one of the smoothest performances we’ve ever heard from him. You’ll want to have this song on repeat. 5/5

02 Festive!

This tune will catch you off guard. Country/folk rock is certainly something uncommon, special in Japan. “Festive!” dons an easy-to-listen mix of country/folk and pop sound rooted on acoustic guitars and washy, hi-hat driven drums. But if the whole country throws you off or you are usually not a fan of the genre, rest assured. There are entertaining piano melodies, blues-y guitar licks and a bassline that, although not as noticeable as in the previous song, adds a depth to the instrumental, making it an amusing listen. The chorus and pre-chorus sections are the highlights on this instrumental – a quick listen is enough to notice how good those sound. In the vocal department we can only say that Toriumi has delivered yet another great performance. On this one we’re fonder of his performance during the chorus than on the rest of the song, regardless of what strikes our fancy, his performance was consistent and smooth, something we weren’t expecting in a song such as this one. 5/5

Final rating:

We weren’t expecting this release to be as flawless as it ended up being. MaM set the bar extremely high with this CD. We found ourselves visiting music genres that aren’t as common among 2.5D idol projects as we’d hope. 80’s inspired pop/new wave and country/folk pop are two music genres that are unique and seldom ever used as they ended up being for this release. These are also two music genres that don’t usually go well with each other, hence we were surprised upon listening to this CD and finding that the transition from the synth filled “Blooming World” to the acoustic guitar driven “Festive!” was too natural and felt right.

Blooming World” is such a nice tune. It kept us entertained from start to finish, taking us on a quality throwback that made us wish we were in the summer right now. Its laidback vibe makes it a song to be enjoyed in a relaxed setting or, if you want to relax a bit, it might help setting a pleasant and tranquil mood.

Festive!” is a rather unique song that lent elements from country and folk music – music genres that might not interest to most people fan of 2.5D’s typical electronic/dance pop sound – and implemented those in a sweet acoustic instrumental that had us singing along to it without knowing.

We found Toriumi’s performances on this release to be the best we ever heard from him. Forget all his other units and previous performances, this is, for us, his best performance ever, a vocal highlight. His smooth mid-tones were on top form for this release, pick whatever song on this release. Toriumi’s performance is sure to impress you.

All in all, MaM’s Ensemble Stars! Unit series CD is a unique release that brought to the table rare, unexpected elements and music genres, added smooth vocals on it and mixed everything carefully in order to impress everyone. Top marks.

Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3rd Series vol.11 MaM” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

 

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