Yuma Shirase “peridot” (Review)

Vazzy‘s Yuma Shirase explored dance music for his take on the bi-color series. “peridot” impresses with its dreamy vibe and groovy performances, ranking among the series’ best releases.

Updated intro to this series with some spoilers in the mix:

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. VAZZROCKSQ and ALIVE all share the same dormitory. Vazzy and Rock Down‘s leaders were once part of the same group with SolidS‘ Shiki Takamura and QUELL‘s Shu Izumi.

Title:  白瀬優馬-peridot-
Label: Tsukipro/Movic
Release date: 27/07/2018
Genre: Dance/Pop

Tracklist:

1 - DRAMA「コーヒーには、ミルクと砂糖をたっぷりと」
2 - DRAMA「広がる世界」
3 - STARLIGHT
4 - Break New Ground
5 - STARLIGHT -off vocal-
6 - Break New Ground -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

3 – STARLIGHT

STARLIGHT fully embraces synths to create a soothing soundscape. Contrary to most songs released so far in the bi-color series, synths occupy the front seat. A variety of synths including washy, pulsing, soothing pads, were put together in order to create this dreamy soundscape that immediately envelops the listener. A minimalistic piano melody – serving as lead to this song -, snary drums, clap track and a noticeable bass line complete the lineup for this catchy dance tune. This is a dance song in its essence, however it isn’t loud, fast paced or generic as some would have expected it would be. I felt that this slower paced take on dance music fit well with the overall theme of the song. On the vocal end we have a surprise. Shun Horie embraced his lower register, sounding unrecognizable. He showed impressive control over his low register, even adding some flair to his singing with falsetto and some vibrato. Sweet performance in a what is a great “feel good” song. 5/5

4 – Break New Ground

Break New Ground is an interesting tune filled with unexpected elements and a whole lot of layers to explore. The instrumental mixes a variety of elements to create its addictive dance sound. The arpeggiated synths, the verses’ simplicity and the song’s progression, all took me back to the fever of 80’s dance music. The instrumental is exciting without being overbearing or too loud like some of today’s dance trends, so it feels and sounds well. Progressive synths are at the base of this instrumental, however, in comparison with the previous song, this song is groovier, betting more on bass elements – be it through the drums, bass lines or the synths – to give a danceable and funky touch to Break New Ground. Midway through this song the listener will come across fast paced guitar riffs and live drums, elements responsible for adding an extra edge to this unique instrumental. Between a catchy lead, addictive hooks and the unexpected differences in tempo in the first verse, the listener is presented with a rich instrumental filled with small details, only noticeable with further listens.

On vocal duty we have Shun Horie and Yukitoshi Kikuchi (Rock Down‘s leader). For this song, Horie put aside his lower register and performed on a higher key, matching perfectly Kikuchi‘s well known high toned vocals. Their vocals seemed to be a perfect fit with each others’, despite how polarizing they sound, as well as with this instrumental. Hands down the best song on this release. 5/5

Final rating:

With this CD we wrap up Vazzy‘s releases in the bi-color series (Takaaki will still participate in the series’ last release, to be released in 2019, however he’ll only participate in the duet song), making way for ROCK DOWN‘s take on the series. Yuma Shirase‘s “peridot” embraced the high tension excitement of synths and mixed them with ethereal synth pads to create sweet, slow paced dream-like soundscapes.

Whether it was to create a soothing soundscape in STARLIGHT or add an edgy touch to a rock tune in Break New Ground, synths played a massive role into shaping this album.

Regardless of its slow pace and quiet tone, STARTLIGHT is a strong opening for this album. Its dreamy vibe easily caught my attention. It has an interesting duality that put quiet, delicate verses up against the excitement of the dancefloor-driven choruses, all to create a memorable dance tune. This is the kind of song that will grow on you with each listen.

On the other side we have the duet song Break New Ground. Arpeggiated and progressive synths led the way for that 80’s inspired dance tune. There’s no shortage of excitement with this tune. In a release that is, essentially, made to the dancefloor, rock elements – the core to this VAZZROCK franchise – still managed to make an appearance. The addition of those elements wasn’t made in the smoothest way, ending up sounding too sudden and out-of-place on a first listen however, with further listens, those elements actually seem to fit and sound natural. This is a dance tune on the same level of quality as Trick Trap Trick (song featured on the series’ first CD, amethyst).

Expectations weren’t high for Shun Horie‘s performances – based on what he’d shown so far performing in other franchises (i.e Idolmaster SideM) – however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s much more to his singing than what he’d shown so far. He might not be the best singer within Vazzy but he sure does bring a lot of talent to the table with his singing, especially after listening to both songs. He’s almost unrecognizable for this release. Horie showcased his sweet lower register (similar to Daiki Yamashita’s lower register) in STARLIGHT and, for Break New Ground, he adopted a higher tone that fit perfectly with the song’s key and Kikuchi‘s singing tone. His versatility showed and his control impressed.

All in all, “peridot” perfectly wraps up Vazzy‘s performances in the bi-color series. Stellar work on both ends make this release yet another fantastic entry in both the VAZZROCK franchise and the bi-color series.

VAZZROCK” bi-color Series (6)”Shirase Yuma-peridot-” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

"VAZZROCK" bi-color Series / Yuma Shirase (Shun Horie) & Sho Onoda (Yukitoshi Kikuchi)
Yuma Shirase (Shun Horie) & Sho Onoda (Yukitoshi Kikuchi)
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