VAZZROCK‘s second release of the “bi-color” belongs to Kira Ouka (Yusuke Kobayashi). With easy melodies, rich instrumentals and stunning vocal performances, this release is yet another pearl to add to this franchise.
A short intro to this project:
VAZZROCK is the newest 2.5D project by Tsukipro. The cast includes 12 characters split into 2 bands: Vazzy and Rock Down. Those 12 characters represent different precious stones. Besides this and in regards to the interactions between this series and others under Tsukipro, it is mentioned that VAZZROCK‘s members are on good terms (some even friends) with some members of SQ and ALIVE. VAZZROCK, SQ and ALIVE all share the same dormitory.
Title: 吉良凰香-pearl- Label: Tsukipro/Movic Release date: 30/03/2018 Genre: Acoustic Rock/Ballad
1. DRAMA「つまらないものですが」 2. DRAMA「二葉の茶会」 3. DRAMA「これからの話をしよう」 4. 君ノ花 5. rainy rain days 6. 君ノ花 -off vocal- 7. rainy rain days -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
We kick off this release with an acoustic ballad, the first one in the VAZZROCK franchise. “Kimi no Hana” embraces a simple and melancholic sound comprised of acoustic guitar riffs, a minimalistic bass line, slow paced snary drums and a delicate strings section to leave an impact. Its verses are quiet, mostly acoustic guitar and snary drums based, raising in tension and getting busier as we get to the emotional chorus. The chorus brings longing strings into the mix, enhancing the feelings behind the lyrics in this particular section. Straying away from this series’ previous release, this song doesn’t have a powerful bridge nor a solo section. It doesn’t need one to impress. However it’s a rather unexpected stylistic choice for this song, putting more emphasis on the vocals instead of the instrumental itself.
On the vocal end, we find Yusuke Kobayashi delivering a stunning performance filled with emotion, tricky falsetto sections and a gentle vibrato in the mix. Kobayashi really hit it out of the park with this performance. The gentleness in his vocals and the almost ethereal way in which he tackled the song, made its melancholy come to life perfectly, making this song all the most impactful for the listener. 5/5
5. rainy rain days (duet with Yusuke Shirai)
“rainy rain days” puts Kira Ouka and Kiduku Futaba in the same frame. The first piano notes are enough to notice that we’re in for yet another melancholic ride with this song. This time around, acoustic rock and jazz blend to create a rich, deep instrumental that is as much as a “feel good” song as it is a “melancholic ballad“, ready to attack your feelings. This well balanced duality, enhanced by the contrast between the acoustic guitar melodies, dramatic strings and the longing, jazzy piano melody, makes this instrumental alone, a thoroughly fantastic listen. This instrumental wouldn’t be as impressive as it is if it didn’t have the mesmerizing bass line that envelops the listener or the classy piano solo in the bridge that, with dramatic/urgent strings in the backdrop, will give you chills.
The vocals are just as consistent and impressive as the instrumental. The dynamic between Kobayashi and Shirai‘s vocals was surprisingly good and refreshing. The contrast between Kobayashi‘s smooth, ethereal vocals and Shirai‘s sweet mid-tones made the song stand out from the rest of the release. “rainy rain days” is a treat to listen to. 5/5
The second entry in VAZZROCK‘s “bi-color” series is helmed by Kira Ouka. “pearl” is a melancholic release, wrapped in acoustic melodies, classy jazzy instrumentals and stunning vocal performances.
If there’s one thing you’ll notice after listening to this release is that there’s a symbiosis between gentleness/sweetness and melancholy in all songs, regardless of lyrics or instrument changes in both. The mix between those feelings makes this release interesting and rich. “Kimi no Hana” opened this mini-album in the best way for us, embracing a slow paced and simple acoustic pop-rock sound, a complete change when taking into account how fast paced and rock + dance driven the first release of the series, “amethyst” was.
Its melancholic vibe was still present in “rainy rain days“, the mini-album’s duet song, however, the addition of jazz elements and a stronger bass line introduced a twist in this release. The instrumental was incredibly entertaining, giving off a “feel good” vibe at the same time that it was playing with the listener’s feelings. We felt that the instrumental for this piece was one of the highlights in the release. It’s not often that you come across a piano solo with the quality and emotion we got on this track. That whole bridge section gave us chills.
On the vocal end, we were surprised once again with Kobayashi‘s stunning singing skills. Most people don’t know him for singing skills but he’s actually one of the best singers in VAZZY, and VAZZY has a strong lineup. He’s got an ethereal tone, delicate and gentle for the most part and is owner of a sweet falsetto that will leave you in awe. His singing tone turned out to be a perfect fit for this ballad imbued release. On “rainy rain days” Kobayashi and Yusuke Shirai teamed up, delivering an unexpected performance. From hitting high notes to adding falsetto and delivering beautiful harmonies, this duo turned out to far exceed our expectations. It was, hands down, the best performance on this release.
In the end, Kira Ouka’s “pearl” is a fantastic entry to this series, filled with easy melodies, rich instrumentals and stunning vocal performances. This is another perfect release to add to VAZZY‘s repertoire.
Kira Ouka’s “pearl” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for overseas fans.