SP!CA, Maten Rocket, Just 4 U, RayGlanZ and La-Veritta “Readyyy! Project 4th” (Review)

Readyyy! Project‘s continue to grow before our eyes and ears. The franchise’s 4th CD puts every unit on equal footing setting an exciting stage for upcoming releases.

Title: Readyyy! Project 4th
Label: WAVE MASTER
Release date: 17/08/2019
Genre: Pop-Rock/Dance/Ballad

Tracklist:

01.Running to the top (SP!CA)
02.Special Days (Maten Rocket)
03.特別すぎる関係 (Just 4U)
04.Bring it on (RayGlanZ)
05.華の在り処 (La-Veritta)
06.nineteen! feat.SP!CA -short ver-
07.nineteen! feat.摩天ロケット -short ver-
08.nineteen! feat.Just 4U -short ver-
09.nineteen! feat.RayGlanZ -short ver-
10.nineteen! feat.La-Veritta -short ver-
11.Running to the top(Instrumental)
12.Special Days(Instrumental)
13.特別すぎる関係(Instrumental)
14.Bring it on(Instrumental)
15華の在り処(Instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – Running to the top

SP!CA return with a gentler, acoustic driven sound with Running to the top. Acoustic guitars, slow paced, splashy drums, delicate piano melodies and gentle strings create a warm and hopeful soundscape.  This is a complete departure from the group’s heavily synth driven sound, however, it is heartwarming to find a different side to the group. They are looking bright to their future and the song perfectly captures those intentions.

On the vocal side this is a sweet song with a sort of lullabyish touch that will, surprisingly, make the group stand out in this release. 5/5

2 – Special Days

Maten Rocket bring their energetic pop-rock sound to this release. The verses are exciting and build up into an upbeat chorus that calls for the listener to join in the fun. Although the song is fairly simple in its composition, it is overflowing with energy, passion and a feel good vibe. Special Days‘ laidback and bright vibe are made to put a smile on your face.

Vocally, the group showcases improvements, particularly noticeable in the emotional chorus. Solid track. 4.5/5

3 –Tokubetsu sugiru kankei

JUST 4U change a bit their sound to deliver a bright pop-rock tune filled with dreams and hopes. Tokubetsu sugiru kankei is talks of a bond and its importance, something that the instrumental carefully explores in this sweet semi-acoustic tune. Strings, contained guitar riffs, a noticeable bass line and snary drums are complete with big, bright piano melodies.

On the vocal end this is a big change for this group, know for funky, provocative performances. Their vocals are gentle and there are quite a few interesting moments from both the tenors and baritones in the groups. Not the best from this group but a song that points to their destination. 4/5

4 – Bring it on!

RayGlanZ go loud and big for the electrifying Bring it on!. Synths are dark, guitars are muffled and overdriven, the beat brings a beat of the industrial rock and electronica to the table, making this song exude a dark, approachable vibe. The verses are slow with a looping guitar riffs and synths creating the base for the dark background painted for this track. Things change in the chorus, clearly brighter and softer than expected.

On the vocal end, RayGlanZ deliver a fresh performance that, yet still in-line with their trademark sound, is slower than in most of their songs but in need of the same or more power output. It is a nice performance however a bit weaker in comparison with previous entries. 4/5

5 – Hana no Arika

La-Veritta bring their classic touch for a sweet sounding pop tune. Classy strings and piano melodies set the tone for this song. Drums are slow paced and minimal in the verses, picking up the pace and getting increasingly louder until we get to the chorus. The piano solo is such a tasteful touch to this song.

On the vocal end, their performance stands out individually rather than as group. Sakakihara and Tanaka both delivered interesting performances of their own. Falsetto worked better on Sakakihara than on Tanaka but it was the later that had a better overall performance. Hana no Arika is a solid track, however, it lacks a bit of the excitement their previous songs had and the consistency on the vocal end. 4/5

6 – 10 – Nineteen

Given that this song counts with 5 different versions – one for each group – and the song is only a short version, we explore a bit Nineteen in condensed fashion. The song brings to the table a tropical intro, simple guitar riffs in the verses and playful drums and bass line.

This is a song made to be performed as an ensemble and it calls for the participation of the listener. It is the textbook bright pop-rock tune that you’d feature as an ending song for a live show so, in return, it lacks any of the individual characteristics of each group. As it is, this is a song that captures the youthful, hopeful spirit from this project. It is fun and laidback and must be taken as such regardless of which version you’re listening in – in which only the vocal performances slightly change. 4.5/5

Final rating:

Readyyy! Project’s units have grown and with that growth come new takes on their sound.

On a first listen, SP!CA are unrecognizable. Their bubbly, youthful sound has evolved into a mature take on pop music that also introduces technical parts in the performance part of things. In that aspect, SP!CA are truly unrecognizable. Vocally, the group with the, now, confident center Tetsuei Sumiya, is tackling everything thrown at them with flying colors. High notes, harmonizations, solo parts. For the first time, SP!CA sound incredibly consistent.

Maten Rocket still have their debut energetic pop-rock sound. While Special Days in no way feels fresh in comparison to their previous songs – Pendulum being the group’s highlight track -, it is on the vocal end that we were the most impressed, with group going all out to deliver a performance that had us on the edge with the overflowing emotions pouring from their vocals.

JUST 4U do a complete 180 to their sound. Their funky and playful sound was replaced by a sweet pop song with ballad undertones. Vocally, the group broke the pace and added a fresh coating over their performance, delivering a sweet, quieter and gentler performance than we’re used to. Not their best song but a solid performance nonetheless.

RayGlanZ have stroked us as a flashy, textbook edgy pop outfit with big beats, addictive synth work and a balance on the vocal end that was more than surprising for a unit just making their debut in 2018. They easily set themselves apart from the pack with their debut song, GO NOW!. Since then, RayGlanZ had been straying away from that sound, releasing softer takes on pop music, adding ballads into the mix and now, with Bring it On!, that debut sound is back however with some – noticeable – changes. The sound is brighter, not only from the lyrics but also in the synth work that, although there is still some grit and darkness in it, it just does not exude the same vibe. Add to this the fact that Shuma Konoe‘s deep Touma vocals are barely recognizable – that deep tone is clearly hard to pull off when singing -, an even if this is a RayGlanZ song and it sounds just like a song of theirs, there is a part of their identity that is nowhere to be found.

La-Veritta, the dramatic, classic and power vocal duo, were also met with some struggles. Hana no Arika is a simple pop tune with classic music elements that pales in comparison with previous compositions. This song lacks the duo’s capability to captivate the listener with their unique sound. Hana no Arika has a crowded chorus and the vocals sound weaker than on previous songs by the group. Safe to say that the duo has had better outings before, even though this is a perfectly okay song.

All in all, Readyyy! Project’s units keep on improving in various fields, getting more mature by each release. Even with some experiments not working well, it is safe to say that each unit is shaping up to be their best version of themselves. SP!CA and Maten Rocket , arguably two of the weakest groups on the vocal end within the franchise, upped their game and delivered two outstanding performances, putting themselves on level with La-Veritta, RayGlanZ and Just 4U.

As of now, every single Readyyy! Project unit is on equal footing, and that couldn’t get more exciting than this.

Readyyy Project 4th is available for streaming on Spotify.

Remember to support this project by streaming via official outlets, do not support piracy.

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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