Momochi “Dear Vocalist Evolve Entry No.5” (Review)

Momochi goes all out for his entry in the Dear Vocalist‘s Evolve series.

Title: "Dear Vocalist Evolve" Entry No.5 Momochi
Label: Rejet
Release date: 20/11/2019
Genre: Trap/Traditional Japanese/Rock

Tracklist:

1 - 紅蓮心中
2 - V
3 - Helix [DRAMA TRACK]
4 - Isolated [DRAMA TRACK]
5 - Padma [DRAMA TRACK]

Track by track analysis:

1 – 紅蓮心中 (Guren Shinju)

Traditional Japanese instrumentalization, namely koto and taiko drums, are at the core of this unique track, something that we are used to by the chameleon, Momochi. Urgent, dramatic piano melodies and a hard-hitting trap and drum & bass beat completely take over this track, showing its dark, fatalist colors. The chorus is suffocating and incredibly short lived, to the point that it can’t help but impact the listener. On the vocal end, Toshiyuki Toyonaga mixes his lyrical, belting singing with rap parts, once again showing the contradictions that make Momochi one of the most compelling characters music-wise.  Guren Shinju is a one-of-a-kind song with a stellar progression, wrapping up on a memorable dramatic note to the sound of a broken shakuhachi melody. 5/5

2 – V 

V wraps up this release with a blend of rock that is reminiscing of late 90s punk rock. This is a simple 4-piece rock band track that shows yet another layer to Momochi’s versatility. The track features raging guitar riffs, a snary-driven beat and a barely noticeable bass line. In comparison to the previous track it sounds too “normal” and uneventful in comparison despite its youthul vibes and rather upbeat sound. Vocally, Toyonaga delivers a solid performance in a genre that is no stranger to him.  4/5

Final rating:

Momochi knows how to keep things interesting. His entry in Dear Vocalist‘s Evolve series is another strike of genius (thank you R.O.N) on the instrumental and vocal sides.

Guren Shinju is, like its title, a dark, fatalist song. But it has more layers than it. It has a duality, a strangely alluring duality that draws the listener in within it very first captivating notes of koto and taiko drums. When drum & bass and trap elements kick in, the listener is already too invested in the track and can’t help but to feel every single beat on it. This is a unique track, even by Momochi’s standards.

Unfortunately, due to how odd and one-of-a-kind Guren Shinju is, V took a hit and, in comparison, it sounds like a plain, uneventful pop-rock song. Were the first track completely different and this song would stand out.

On the vocal end Toshiyuki Toyonaga continues to show his cards, delivering befitting, dramatic performances when required, and doing so with a quality and ease that continues to impress us with each Momochi entry in the franchise. Toyonaga’s previous experience with enka (having composed and performed his own enka song in his solo debut release, MUSIC OF THE ENTERTAINMENT), and rap (with Momochi’s popular “Lion”) came in handy to make Guren Shinju shine like no other song of Momochi’s has ever shone.

Momochi’s entry in the Evolve series is rather odd but insanely appealing. Once again it is hard to put a label on his music as with shift, his sound evolves and his vocals fit everything thrown at him. Absolute masterclass on the vocal end by Toshiyuki Toyonaga however, the single manages to fit two contrasting songs that do not complement each other thus rendering this mini-album rather unbalanced.

Dear Vocalist Evolve Entry No.5 Momochi is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Author: Vanessa Silva (midorin)

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Metalhead. Gamer. Based in Cascais, Portugal. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to start writing about male seiyuu music.

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