situasion – Kawara Girls

situasion

The recently formed idol unit situasion balances an atmospheric sound with hard hitting beats in their latest EP Kawara Girls.

Formed in December of 2020, situasion is a six member group composed of members Ai, Aimi, Aina, Suzu, Hina and Ayu. So far, they’ve released one full album, Debutante, a single titled The Blue Dahlia, and their latest EP Kawara Girls, which dropped on May 8th.

Being an EP, there’s only four songs included on this release, with one being a short instrumental introduction called “Theme of New Reiwa”. The opening can be best described as glittery and dreamlike, with it’s shining ambiance and light instrumentation. At the halfway mark you get a taste of the other vibe situasion presents in their music: dance pop with a tinge of EDM and rock.

The second track, “Japanese Horror Story”, is the longest on the album. Clocking in at 5 minutes, it opens with a fun mix of synth. The vocals have an almost robotic effect layered onto them which is a great touch. Around the 1:30 mark, we’re returned to the dreamy realm we found previously, before being thrust into an incredibly heavy beat drop. I imagine anybody with some really high quality headphones would get an absolute kick out of it, as mine couldn’t fully capture the bass. The overall feeling of the song comes off as a rollercoaster ride with the switches between sections of high energy and relaxation. There are some really weird points where the mix gets really quiet, though, which I’m assuming could be error on the producer’s part.

The third song, “Yamatoya Beats”, holds most of the rock influence on the EP. The soaring flutes alongside the guitars and beat drops is such a cool touch as well. For me, the stand out point of the song is the chorus sung by all of the members– it elevates the song’s already infectious energy. The beat drop at the 2:48 mark is absolute nuts as well, one that I imagine would be a joy to hear at a concert. The final song, “Kawara Girls”, closes out the EP with a pretty, dream pop vibe. The touch of guitar and bells (and what I believe is zither as well?) fits right alongside the mood of the song. Though the atmosphere does stand out in the song, it doesn’t shy away from picking up speed in the choruses. Overall, it serves as a satisfying end to a pretty straightforward release.

Despite being a young group, situasion take a firm stance in their sound with the release of Kawara Girls. They’re definitely a unit to keep an eye on in the future.


Zsasz – ⸮: Percontation Point

Zsasz - ⸮: Percontation Point

The five member idol unit Zsasz brings hardcore and fun alongside new tracks and remakes in their debut album ⸮: Percontation Point.

If you’re familiar with the world of Vocaloid, then you’ve probably heard of the legendary producer Utsu-P, known for giving Hatsune Miku some of the hardest hitting metal tracks in the game. Perhaps it may shock you, much like it shocked me, to find that he’s also the producer of a five-piece idol group known as Zsasz. Composed of members Saku, Tim Vincent, Shuugetsu Shino, Nagase Ritsu and Rom, they debuted in 2019 and dropped their first EP, the self-titled Zsasz, at the beginning of 2020. Back in March, they dropped their first full length album ⸮: Percontation Point.

The album has a run time of 40 minutes and features 11 tracks, with five new songs and six being remakes of the songs they released on their first EP. It opens with “Z Alert”, a short track that plays air raid sirens with a robotic voice instructing the listener that you’re about to bear witness to something never seen before, and Zsasz will be the group to bring the house down. The overall aura feels mighty threatening, and closes with a reminder on how the world is constantly changing; either you get with it or get left behind. The song that follows is “Kawaii Nankaii”, a blistering mix containing elements of hip hop, symphonics and hard rock. The verses are half sung and half rapped, with members taking turns together in singing the chorus and bearing the question: “what’re you gonna do with your life?”.

Next up is “Tokidoki Hikaru”, a song that blends electronica with metalcore (it reminded me a lot of early I See Stars). Once again the girls swap between singing and rapping in the verses, and the chorus carries an infectious sing-along power. One pleasant surprise was some screamed vocals in the second verse from member Ritsu, something she periodically brings throughout the remainder of the album.

Fans of the group will recognize “Syokuji (2021 Version)”, which was originally featured on their first release. This features some updated vocals and what sounds like, to me, an updated sound carried by some extra guitar work. The song is packed full of high energy that makes you want to scream along. “Obaka no Pop” evokes a happy feeling in its EDM stylings, and really does serve as the song with the heaviest “pop” elements, even with the chugging guitars and fast drum work. The higher vocal ranges of the girls really shine in this song as well.

The following tracks are all part of the remakes. “Menya Grotesque (2021 Version)”, one of my favorites, mixes traditional instrumentation with some good ol’ heavy metal. The chorus is simple and effective, the screamed bits at 2:35 add the right touch of edge, and we see more rapped verses. “Peter Peter (2021 version)” opens with a very chaotic, almost carnival-like atmosphere, before swapping for a digital hardcore sound.

“Kanbanmusume No Warufuzake (2021 Version)” follows in a similar vein to “Menya” in its usage of traditional elements and metal, though it’s a little more subdued. There’s a great guitar solo at the 2:13 mark that almost borders on a polka style. “Ikiteru Obake Ha Ikiteiru (2021 Version)” opens with synth and an absolutely sick guitar, and interestingly flip-flops between metalcore in the verses and what feels like power metal in the chorus. The screamed vocals are heavy in this track, which I absolutely loved, making for an enjoyably wild ride.

“Massive Emoji”, an original track, sees a lot of action going on in the verses with shouts and singing (I think there’s some screaming in the back, though it’s very faint). The breakdown almost teeters into djent territory, which was a super cool touch! It’s one of the shorter songs on the album but still manages to get a lot done, and done fairly well.

And finally, we have “Nuigurumi Ni Naritai (2021 Version)”, a hard rock track with galloping guitars, bells and touches of electronica that really brighten the song’s mood. For me, the song brought about quite an interesting feeling, like I was watching the credits of an ending scene of a movie. This was probably brought on by the song’s placement, but it felt satisfying as a finisher.

All in all, fans of Zsasz will enjoy the new tracks and the fresh takes on older tunes, while newcomers will be welcomed into a whole new world. As they’re still a young group, I greatly anticipate what moves they’ll be making in the future.


DESURABBITS – JUMP (Type A)

DESURABBITS

Listen to JUMP, the latest album of the death pop group DESURABBITS which brings old and new together, possibly for the final time.

DESURABBITS is quite an interesting group. Comprising of four members — Karin, Yuzu, Emi, and their producer Buchou (Akira Kanzaki) — come together to create a genre known as death pop by mixing heavy metal, digital hardcore and electronica. After spending almost 8 years together, in November of 2020 they announced that they’ll be disbanding come June due to the pandemic heavily affecting their roles as a performance based unit. However, before they go, they’ve left not one but two albums in their wake: JUMP Type A and Type B.

Upon looking through their discography, it appears that both versions of the JUMP albums contain singles from throughout their long career alongside original songs. Type A contains 17 tracks and clocks in at an hour and fifteen minutes, their longest release to date. It opens with an instrumental track titled “Op.Track” that has a nu-metal style, mixing a raging band with record scratches of a turntable. “Isshunde” (“In The Blink of an Eye”), which was promoted as a single last year, comes next with a blossoming opening of string instruments. The chorus exudes a fun and energetic beat, and the girls take turns in the verses with Buchou’s screams and growls. “Mushi suru na, kimi no iro wa kimi de kimereba ii” (“Don’t ignore it, you can choose your own color”) teeters on the edge of being a ballad, but the rock instrumentation comes through much stronger, and there’s a bit of electro pop in the bridge before closing out with Buchou’s screams.

“Rayword” rips right into some heavy metal, while “Don’t Think, Feel!” has more of a thrash metal attitude to it. Buchou’s verses contain the more hardcore elements, where as sections with Karin, Emi and Yuzu are a complete switch up with the introduction of piano. “Demo, Nigenna” utilizes more of an electronic pop/rock sound. With an extremely catchy chorus, and a rap verse from Buchou around the 2:30 mark, it makes for a great song to dance to. “Sotsugyou shoujo -Mirai e-” (“Graduation Girl -Future Picture-”) is one of my favorite tracks on the album, with digital hardcore being the dominant genre at play, neat vocal effects and sweet hints of piano throughout. “Tokyo no Sukima” is a rock ballad with a more melancholic feeling, which immediately separates it from the other songs. The feeling of the song makes you want to raise your lighters (or phone flashlights) and sway to the heartfelt singing of the girls. Towards the end, there’s a key change with English lyrics!

“I’m On My Way” is another song with a heartfelt emotion in vocal delivery while still retaining a hard edge with elements of hard rock. Buchou’s verses have a sick glitch effect to them and Karin, Yuzu, and Emi’s parts all showcase gorgeous harmonization. “Magic of Butterfly -Seichou-” opens with piano, then kicks up the energy with a power metal flair. “Aikotoba” follows in the same vein but introduces traditional Japanese instruments as well, and employs quite the fun chorus.

“IdolSTAR Wars (Re-Singing Version)” is a redone version of their single from 2013, and is one of the shorter tracks on the album. Buchou’s growls take center stage in this track before the girls come in with a cuter vibe in the pre chorus and chorus. Alongside “Anger”, which features some jazz elements in the mix, and “Desuma supuringu ~Sorosoro keigo o tsukatte mimasenka~” (“It’s Spring ~Let’s try using honorifics properly~”), they make up the oldest tracks on the album. “Chaban Chaban Ban”, another favorite of mine, is a track that makes use of DESURABBITS‘ digital hardcore sound with spoken verses. The track is so much fun, especially in the way it suddenly switches up at 1:20 into dance pop. The guitar solo towards the end is absolutely killer as well.

The final two songs almost feel like a fond farewell. “I Love Desurabbits” is another heavy metal banger that has Karin, Yuzu and Emi taking center stage, with Buchou employing his screams briefly throughout (and some sick gutturals at 2:45). The lyrics feel happy, and there is a very sweet part in the beginning of the bridge expressing thanks and love. The final song, aptly titled “Last Song”, has a magical feeling with softer vocals and a dance beat, before ending with the girls saying “goodbye” and Buchou joining in for one final “We are Desurabbits”.

JUMP is quite the long journey, with almost every track coming in at four or five minutes, but it’s one worth making and a familiar road to travel for longtime DESURABBITS fans. Though the death pop unit will be leaving us in the summer, this album will serve as a fond reminder of all the memories they’ve made and the impact they’ve left on the idol scene.


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