RAY – Yellow


RAY’s colorful saga continues: the shoegaze idol group aims to both soothe and excite with their latest EP Yellow.

For our last batch of reviews, I’d been covering groups who were really bringing the heat with some high energy and fun releases. This time I decided I’d go back into some review suggestions to find my next subject and came across RAY’s latest effort, Yellow, which follows in suit with their last two releases titled Blue and Pink. What heavily intrigued me about this group was the fact that they dabble in the realm of shoegaze: a subgenre of indie and alternative rock that makes use of heavy distortion, ethereal nature and high volume. Even more interesting were the producing credits, so I just knew I had to check this one out.

Yellow is a four track EP that was released on June 19th through DISTORTED RECORDS, with an 18 minute run time, so it makes for a pretty quick listen. The first song, “Koharuhi” was produced by Tomoya Matsuura, member of the shoegaze band monocism. Straight out the gate you get that wide open, atmospheric sound that the genre is known for alongside some subtle feedback. The vocals are soft, but full of heart, and the members harmonize well together. With it’s light guitar work and mid-tempo drums, the track makes for a nice and relaxed listen, keeping this consistency throughout. The second track, “Reignition”, has a little more pep in its step as well as more upfront pop influence. Though it was produced by Ishikawa of the noise pop band my dead girlfriend, it’s not as wild as one might think. However, it does have the right amount of bounce to bring the listener out from the almost hypnotic nature of the previous song. The drums and guitars are more energetic and the vocals in the chorus are nice; there’s also a neat little guitar solo around the 2 minute mark.

Track three, “17”, has the most interesting producing credit yet: Kei Toriki of post-black metal band Asunojokei. The song opens with a very dreampop-esque soundscape, buzzing and glittery with a touch of distortion. It also has a fair amount of switch ups to keep the song interesting, at the 1:55 and 2:42 marks, and a real satisfying climax towards the end. The final song, “Rusty Days”, brings back a chilled vibe with a simple and sweet ballad track. Much like the opener, the vocals are sweet and true and the chorus contains a mix of Japanese and English. The beat sounds like something you’d find at the end of a feel good film, eliciting a light feeling of happiness in the heart. All in all, it’s a solid finisher.

If you’re looking for something to cool off the summer heat then look no further than Yellow, and while you’re at it, check out the group’s previous works! Plus, with the inclusion of a fourth member as of July, there’s a new voice to look forward to in RAY‘s future projects.

KNOW YOUR IDOL #11: 棘-おどろ- (Odoro)

棘-おどろ- (Odoro)

The new episode of the Know Your Idol series is about 棘-おどろ- (Odoro), a very underrated and entertaining idol group with an alternative rock sound.

If I had to think about the most underrated idol unit, 棘-おどろ- (Odoro) would be one of the first name which would come to my mind. I almost never see them mentioned in the Western alternative idol fan communities and even I didn’t get many chances to talk about them. However, I’m very happy that this new episode of the Know Your Idol series is about this group.

With songs inspired mostly (but not only) by alternative rock music, Odoro gave us an interviews through which we will get to know more about them, like their musical tastes and what inspired them to become idols. Enjoy the interview!

TENRIN – アーティファクト (Artifact)


Listen to アーティファクト (Artifact), the debut album of TENRIN featuring eleven songs of rock and alternative metal oriented idol music.

I said multiple times that I was waiting for them to release something cool, and so here they are: TENRIN‘s debut album アーティファクト (Artifact) is finally here, so let’s give it a try.

The imaginate produced group released a few lyrics video in the last few months in which they showed us what they’re made of: the not-too-heavy modern alternative metal/rock sound of those songs already got the IdolOnChaos seal of approval, but at that time they had barely unveiled their members; lately, they had also been featured in our September Top 10 MV with their first music video for the titletrack of this album. “Artifact” is indeed a very good song perfectly representing the greatness of this unit.

Most of the tracks features this mixture of aggressiveness and catchiness, relying especially on the five girls’s vocals and on the powerful guitar riffs supporting them. Sometimes you may think that the rhythmic side of the music could have been a bit more prominent in the mix, and although it is partially true, you’ll soon get used to it.

Due to this, the sound usually feels not too extreme for a metal-oriented group, but every now and then things get a bit heavier: take “鎧袖一触” (Gaishū Isshoku), which starts off pretty intense, despite featuring a very enjoyable and catchy hook. “IZAYOI” is another track that gets quite heavy, even adding some sort of blast beat at some point.

On the other hand, the more pop-ish soul of TENRIN comes out especially during the refrains, which are one of the most enjoyable elements of the group’s music: many vocal lines get stuck in your head right after the first time you listen to them, like in “鬼ごっこ” (Onigokko) and “SAWAGE”. Some songs also add more variety with not surprising, but very welcome elements like the piano and synths in “アライズ” (Arise).

But it’s towards the end the album gets more heterogeneous: “ジャンピングソイヤ” (Jumping Soiya) sounds more like a typical cute and happy idol song, despite the electric guitars and the drums pounding throughout the track; and while doing something similar, “黎明ハイドアウト” (Reimei Hideout) also shows that the group is not afraid of diving into the EDM style with their music.

All in all, Artifact is a very solid release which will be surely enjoyed by fans of rock and metal idols. TENRIN are definitely a strong unit and I’m glad I’ve kept (and still keep) an eye on them.

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