QUELL “CLUB” (Review)

QUELL kick off the cards series pushing the boundaries of their sound.

For the CARDS series, card suits – Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades – are split within each unit series: ALIVE (SOARA, Growth) and SQ (SolidS and QUELL). Each group in a unit series will be in charge of two card suits. 

SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 1 QUELL「CLUB」 is scheduled to be released on 27/09/2019.

Title: SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 1 QUELL「CLUB」 
Label: Tsukipro/Movic 
Release date: 27/09/2019 
Genre: Electronica/Acoustic pop

Tracklist:

1 - Club the Cage 
2 - 水性のクローバー 
3 - Club the Cage -off vocal- 
4 - 水性のクローバー -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

1 – Club the Cage

A distant piano melody, dramatic strings and eerie tuba melodies open this song for us. The tone is dark, the melodies are dirty but minimalism is still king. The verses mix atmospheric synths with strings, deep bass melodies, with a touch of dubstep completing this unique song.

When it comes to the vocal performances it is safe to say that those impressed. The vibe of this song was foreboding, making great use of futuristic and distorted elements to create a gritty soundscape. The vocals were on par in quality and immersion. Vocally there are some surprises. The group is performing in a lower key in the verses and the key gradually gets higher as the song progresses into the chorus. This crescendo in intensity and emotion certainly was key to bring excitement to what is a surprisingly bright chorus. The outro, however, is dark and gritty, with the bass line and strings clashing while vocals haunt the listener. Not only is this song unique within this release but it is also unique within the quartet’s repertoire. 5/5

2 – 水性のクローバー (Suisei no Clover)

How could QUELL impress us further? What about kicking off a song in falsetto, tackling crystal clear high notes? Suisei no Clover kicks off on a unique note and develops in gentle, ethereal fashion with pulsing synths and a soothing beat setting the stage for this uplifting song. Like all of QUELL’s songs, this track creates a feel good soundscape that stays with you. It might not be as memorable as most of the group’s dance/minimal electronica tracks are, but it sure is a track that will stay with you for its simplicity and warm vibe. It feels good and with the vocal performance we have in here, it sounds good.

QUELL‘s members tackle this song in their unique fashion, showcasing their skills in little background details – the fickle yet ethereal high notes -, pitch vocals, harmonies and add a lot of emotion to this track. Stellar performance in a unique ballad-ish tune. 5/5

Final rating:

QUELL have been one of the most exciting outfits within the Tsukipro franchise much due to their unique sound that creates beautiful soundscapes almost effortlessly. Their minimalistic, ethereal sound could have gotten old soon but, time and time again, and much thanks to crafty compositions by Takeshi Hama that give a unique life to the group’s music, QUELL is able to continuously catch us by surprise with each new release.

The whole release is a highlight in itself. Both tracks showcased yet other new sides to this versatile quartet – both vocally or instrumentally. Their unique, crystalline sound is in constant evolution, maintaining and, in times, surpassing the quality of previous releases.

Their take on CLUB for TSUKIPRO’s CARDS series is an example of how this group keeps on innovating and improving. The group’s versatility and quality on the vocal end continues to be a greeting card. Suisei no Clover is the most challenging track on this end and the quartet managed to make chills run down our spine with their performance.

A must listen. A unique release that stands out in the middle of the TSUKIPRO franchise, one of QUELL‘s best releases to date.

SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 1 QUELL「CLUB」 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. After a 6 month stint in Macau SAR, I am back to being based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely focus on writing about male seiyuu music.

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