少女模型 (The Girl Mannequin) – Mannequin Invasion

少女模型 (The Girl Mannequin)

Nobody Expects the Mannequin Invasion! Electro-pop duo 少女模型 (The Girl Mannequin) brings chaos and cheer with their second album.

There’s nothing that suits the bright summer energy quite like a fast paced, energetic, perhaps even chaotic, album. While the temperatures are hot, The Girl Mannequin has brought us music that’s even hotter with their second album Mannequin Invasion. Formed under the company EATS MUSIC, the duo (made up of members Heito and Yamishi) released the 7 tracks on June 17th.

The overall feeling of the album is quite wild, with frequent usage of vocal effects and distortion. The first track, “MiSS FiNGER” opens slow and quiet before diving deep into some hard hitting EDM (it almost gets industrial in some sections). The vocals in the verses are delivered in an almost haunting fashion that adds an air of creepiness, amplified by the glitching sounds throughout the track. “Boomerang”, the follow up, continues the upbeat feelings and glitched sound with an instrumental break halfway through that borders on digital hardcore. The vocals, however, feel a little bit forward in the mix.

Track three, “Mental Crazy Claymore”, which molds true to its name, has a unique switch up in the funky opener and some rock elements sprinkled throughout. It’s arguably the most chaotic song on the album with its frequent switch ups in not just sound but vocal sections. “Over-The-Loop” makes use of rapping in its verses and, sonically, is a little more well balanced in terms of structure and even features some Spanish in the breakdown.

“Goth Note”, the fifth track, serves as the most aggressive song on the album with its mix of metal and breakcore elements. The vocals have a spooky quality to them that’s amplified by their now characteristic distortion and vocal effects, as well as titulature gothic elements at the 2:30 mark. The following track, “Electric Dance”, has a darker feel as well despite the simple electro pop beat and relaxed vibes (compared to the last song, for sure!). The pre-chorus is the perfect build up for the simple, but effective, main chorus, which I felt was the best on the album with it’s perfect blend of bounce and the tinges of piano notes. The seventh and final track, “Happy Time”, is the longest on the album at a little over four minutes. The beat is simple and stripped down with very little use of distortion or special effects. It’s poppy and sweet, a perfect end for an otherwise rollercoaster ride of an album.

If you’re looking for something that’ll grab you by the hand and yank you into a world of high spirited (and hard hitting) electro pop, then look no further! I’d also recommend going through the rest of the The Girl Mannequin catalogue for similar and snappy tracks, like the single My Black White Rabbit and their re-recording ver.01 EP.

akugi – PLAYPLAY


akugi’s not PlayPlay-ing around: the codomomental trio dazzle and terrify on this debut EP titled PLAYPLAY with special guests.

Company collaborations are some of the coolest things, aren’t they? For example, WACK’s DOGENZAKA43, a play on the massively popular AKB48, that features every group in their roster; or their shuffle groups that contained members from different groups working together on an album. However, today we’re giving you something a little bit different, but well worth your interest.

akugi is a trio made up of one vocalist, marikoyu (Komari Yuu of KAQRIYOTERROR), and two dancers, Maruauma (Ama Mauru of Seireki13ya) and nainotokanon (Tokanai Nonno of TOKYO Tefutefu) with a focus on electronica. They made their debut in 2020 with the single r u serious? and followed up with Daydream Speaker in January of 2021. Their debut EP, Playplay, arrived on June 16th with six tracks — five with special guests consisting of fellow codomomental labelmates and one without — and it is absolutely killer.

The first track, “r u serious?”, featuring Yamakomaro of Yuu’s group KAQRIYOTERROR, hits you hard right at the jump with breakbeat-styled instrumentation fit for being on the Need For Speed soundtrack. Yuu’s rapper-like vocals carry through the verses with grace as she bounces from flow to flow against the dark, edgy beat, and the chorus from Yamakomaro melds smoothly right alongside it. The next track, “addict”, features Motochi Kasane of ZenbuKiminoseida., and is entirely in English. It opens with grainy feedback before introducing a simple piano number, soon to be washed over in electronic elements. Personally, the sound was incredibly nostalgic for me, as it reminded me of the arcade games I used to play. The lyrics, however, are incredibly dark, speaking from the perspective of one who knows someone with an unwillingness to carry on and feeling worried for them. Kasane takes over the choruses with her sweet voice, and Yuu carries in the verses, incorporating an icy whisper towards the end of her parts. After her parts come this intense wave of orchestration that really, really hits the nail on the head in producing an intense rush of anxiety.

Track three, “period”, which also features the Zenbukiminoseida. member Mei Yui Mei, packs a lovely surprise. The dreampop introduction gives way to soft, whispered vocals from Yuu, then flips between her rapping delivery and singing from Mei. At the 1:20 mark, though, the song makes a severe drop into a dark trap-inspired beat with the help of Yuu’s icy whispers. Her voice deepens and her delivery becomes less whimsical, with Mei’s almost deathcore-like screams providing back up. At 2:00 the trap beat mixes with elements of the dreamy pop we had beforehand as Yuu closes out the song once more. What a banger!

The fourth song, “CC”, kicks off with a synth beat that, for me, was reminiscent of post-punk. Yuu’s the only one providing vocals on this song and she gives out the full extent of her skills, including those characteristic whispers and rap delivery. The overall feel of the song is funky and dark, with her vocals providing just the right touch of sweetness and edge to get you moving. The mix of Japanese and English lyrics is also a great touch, something nearly every song on the EP has. Track five, “With U” is a short and sweet duet between Yuu and Uine Setsuna from TOKYO Tefutefu. Compared to the rest of the songs, it’s much softer, bringing back the dreamy atmosphere from before. It’s a sweet and sentimental song, briefly taking a turn when Yuu’s rap verse gets a little darker in sound, then brightening up once more as they sing. The ending is especially nice with Setsuna’s singing and Yuu’s rapping layered together.

The final song, “Daydream Speaker”, features Shiki Towa of Seireki13ya. It’s quite the melancholic track, with a slow and somber guitar opening as Shiki begins singing. Yuu’s verses are entirely spoken word, like someone recounting memories or reading from a diary — fitting considering the story of the song’s music video, where a girl tries to cope with the suicide of her friend but is unable to, and meets her in the end. Shiki’s soft and angelic adlibs in the verses provide a nice atmosphere, and she shows off her lower range very well in the song. Overall, it’s a gorgeous track and fits well as the closer for the EP. However, if you’re going to watch the music video, consider this as a bit of a heads up.

Playplay is a great display of the creativity these girls contain, as there really is something for everyone here. I cannot recommend it enough to anybody looking for a unique and fun project and I hope that we’ll be getting much more from akugi in the future!

CROSSNOESIS – moon light


Hokkaido idols CROSSNOESIS present their second EP titled moon light, a very quick but also enjoyable listen; let’s give it a try!

Formed from the remaining members of HAMIDASYSTEM’s original line-up, CROSSNOESIS is a five piece idol group based in Hokkaido that debuted back in May of 2019 with members AMEBA, FLAME, LAKE, RISA and MAI. As it stands, they’ve got one album, a single and two EPs under their belt: the second of which is titled moon light.

Released May 25th, this is a super quick listen, consisting of two new songs and their respective instrumentals. The title track, “Moon Light”, opens with a space-like atmosphere and an interesting buzzing noise, adding some edge into an otherwise dreamy soundscape. My only critique is that this sound can be a bit loud compared to the vocals, and for some could overshadow them a little. On that note, though, the vocals are nice and sweet, with the group showing consistent harmony throughout (especially in the chorus). There’s no major switch ups during the song, aside from the absence of the buzzing in the bridge that gives center stage to the vocals, making for a solid listen.

The second song, “Koubou (Light Beam)”, keeps up the intergalactic-esque vibes with a little more dynamism with a funky drum beat and a bright, energetic chorus. There’s also the sound of rushing water in the back, something akin to a stream, which is better heard in certain sections of the song. I also found the way the members’ lines were spaced out in the verses to be quite interesting, but I don’t find it deterring much from the flow of the song.

While this EP is short, it serves well as a taste of what’s to come for anybody looking to get into CROSSNOESIS’ catalogue and what trajectory they could be heading towards in the future. After all, they’re still a young group, making the interest in their future releases all that more noteful of keeping an eye on.

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