Marginal #4 “GiVeMe” (Review)

With a matured sound and their best vocal performances to date, Marginal #4 have in “GiVeMe” their best release in the past two years. 

Title: GiVeMe 
Label: Rejet/Pythagoras Production
Release date: 25/07/2018
Genre: J-Pop/Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - GiVeMe 
2 - 光 
3 - GiVeMe (instrumental)
4 - 光 (instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – GiVeMe 

GiVeMe shows Marginal #4‘s revamped sound, fitting with the group’s matured image The unit, known for their high-tension blend of rock and electronica has now toned down their sound and, at the same time, embraced a matured, alluring sound. Safe to say that when listening to this song there are some elements – trademark to this group – missing from it. There’s little to no bright elements in the instrumental, synths are darker and simpler and the rock elements are, in a sense, much simpler than before. So, with all their usual high-tension and energy out of the picture, what remains in this song that still makes it sound like a typical Marginal #4 song?

Their vibe. Since their debut, Marginal #4 have always shown their playful and suggestive sides, mainly through their vocal performances. Although their vocals have vastly changed and improved since the group’s debut, Marginal #4 still carries that torch with them, to be a powerful group with alluring performances. That’s exactly what we have here. With a quieter and simpler instrumental, the group’s improved vocals shone without distractions. Be it with the contrast of husky vocals (Toshiki Masuda and KENN) or the smooth/R&B-ish vocals (Yuto Suzuki and Naozumi Takahashi) that fit like a glove with this instrumental, or even with their fancy solo parts, all members showed that they are on top of their game. This is quite easily one of their best performances in the past 2 years and among of the best since their debut. 5/5

2 – 光 

If there’s one thing Marginal #4‘s fans love is the group’s emotional ballads. 光  (Hikari) brings to the spotlight a delicate acoustic instrumental that opens with pizzicato strings accompanying the group’s clear, emotional vocals. Soon after, the song opens up into a beautiful ballad with acoustic guitars, dreamy piano melodies, splashy drums and a simple bass line that give a melancholic yet sweet touch to this release. It seems like it has been a long time since Marginal #4 last released a powerful ballad however their vocals as good or better than before. The warmth in the instrumental is matched with an emotional performance filled with goosebump-worthy harmonies and sweet solo parts. Not only the best song on this single but also one of their best ballads to date. 5/5

Final rating:

Marginal #4 seem to have changed their sound to better fit with the group’s matured image. The group, known for their explosive mix of rock and electronica, now embraces a toned down, polished version of it. The instrumental in GiVeMe is minimalistic, having no more than one or two synths (atmospheric and/or leads) on it and featuring a simple beat and guitar riffs. Nothing more. This simplicity, however, seems to fit well with this group of experienced performers. At the same time, their ballads are back as beautiful and solid as ever.

The group no longer has flaws on the vocal end, as easily noticeable by the group’s stunning performance in 光  (Hikari) or their fancy performance in GiVeMe. Toshiki Masuda has been a force to be reckoned with in the past two years, completely dominating the group’s performances with rich vocals that are as adept of rock tunes as they are of ballads. Yuto Suzuki continues to add depth to Marginal #4‘s performances with his versatile skillset and R&B-ish vocals, KENN‘s versatility and experience shine in ways that keep on impressing, being a essential piece on the vocal end with his husky vocals and Naozumi Takahashi brings decades of experience to the table, presenting listeners with flawless performances filled with an alluring vibe that no one in this group can match. That is individually. As a group Marginal #4 showed us that 5 years together as a group has put them in a place that everything they do, they do it synced. Their harmonies are on point, their voices blend incredibly well and everyone has their time to shine. Their chemistry plays a big role or is a product of their growth.

Although Marginal #4 don’t attract as many fans as they did back when they debuted (in a market that didn’t have more than five or six 2D or 2.5D music acts around as opposed to today’s over 90 active units), their relevance and talent are still there. The group has tackled a massive slump and, although it took them a while to come back to their feet, they have been showing improvements are once again back on their best game. Their talents shine in this flawless release.

GiVeMe” celebrates and solidifies the group’s 5-year career in a fresh, matured way.

GiVeMe” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.

 

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