femme fatale – femme fatale

femme fatale

Listen to the self-titled mini-album of femme fatale, a self-produced synth pop idol duo made by two sisters already known in the idol world.

Will synth pop ever get old? Hopefully not, since femme fatale‘s self-titled mini-album once again proved that this genre can still be enjoyed even after four decades from its origins. I’ve been following these sisters from the beginning, so it’s nice to have a chance to talk about them.

Singles aside — some of which are included here anyway — this is the first release of the self-produced idol duo which last year fell straight from the heavens and into the idol scene with its otherworldly pop sound. The 80s-like aesthetics of the fun and uplifting music and the MV of “down shout leaf” are still one of my favorite idol moments of the last few years and I was happy to find it right at the beginning of the album.

Things get even better with the dreamlike atmosphere of “after light”, which also got a MV a few months later. Despite the joyful synth melodies, the often energetic rhythms and the happy-sounding refrain, the song also features a more intimate sound that is perfectly represented not only by the more quiet parts, but by the video as well. “after light” was the song that made me realize why the name femme fatale fits them so well: as a man, I can’t really stop listening to them. Let me know if it works with girls too.

Next up is “フェイズ” (Phase), the most recent of the singles included in this mini-album, bringing back the purely cheerful sound with a very catchy chorus and an even more colorful music video, although everything is lighter, less intense compared to “down shout leaf”. The vocal melodies here shine more than ever, with the two sisters alternating and giving life to a very enjoyable track.

Surprisingly, the first previously unreleased song “サバイバー” (Survivor) shakes things up a bit, adding some future bass elements to the usual synth pop formula, which sounds like past and future got blended together. While it’s not the best one in the EP and some may not enjoy this different approach, the (not so) bizarre mix really works and is a nice change of pace after the first three tracks.

Don’t worry though, as “JR” keeps out the futuristic music to focus only on the typical femme fatale style; as it often happens with their music, one of the main selling points is the bass line and it is especially true here, which gives it a nice groove and helps supporting the ethereal, goodnight-like aura provided by the synths. I never thought a goodnight-like aura could be a thing, but that’s the best way I can describe this atmosphere.

And, as to wake us up after the sweet dreams of the previous song, “バタフライ” (Butterfly) ends the album on a more hyperactive-j-pop-idol-oriented sound, full of chiptune elements and with a quite fast and intense beat. There is also some wobbling stuff going on in the middle of it and… let’s just say that it’s there.

femme fatale‘s first mini-album is definitely a good release, even if we already knew half of its songs; considering that the duo has already been releasing more MV’s, the two girls seem to be quite passionate with this project, and it surely shows.


Chika Radar #17: NELN

NELN have just released the MV for their first single ワンダーフォーゲル (Wandervogel), a dreamlike synth pop song which shows us the talent of these four idols.

It’s been a while since the last Chika Radar article, so let’s get back with it: the idol scene doesn’t stop — not even with a pandemic going on — and we need to find new awesome groups. This week we’ll talk about something I’ve been enjoying a lot lately: ladies and gentlemen, please welcome NELN in the idol scene.

Warm, soft colors and sounds of past decades: do I need to say anything else to get you interested in them?

Of course, surely you’d like to listen to a full song with their voices, right? Well, they have recently released the MV for their first single “ワンダーフォーゲル” (Wandervogel), so let’s check it out.

You can clearly feel that this song is really well made, as the soft and glittering synth melodies make it really enjoyable; this ethereal synth pop style sounds very dreamlike, especially when put together with the chorus-like vocalizations of the four girls. Their singing is also pretty nice, for being their debut, and the very catchy chorus is one of the best parts thanks to their memorable vocal lines. Of course, the rhythm also plays an important role here: how can you not love those bass lines?

The choreography, while a bit simple in some parts, makes a good job at catching your attention and looks quite original compared to the idol standards; maybe making it a little more dynamic would make it look more expressive, but it’s already good enough, to be honest. Their uniforms are also quite unusual, almost as if they came from another dimension… hopefully they are not aliens.

This is only the beginning for NELN and I’m already in love with this unit; looking forward to see how they will evolve, especially since they’re quite young (15-16 years old) and already look talented. Thumbs up for them!

沖縄電子少女彩 (Okinawa Electric Girl Saya) – リズム (Rhythm)

沖縄電子少女彩 (Okinawa Electric Girl Saya)
沖縄電子少女彩 (Okinawa Electric Girl Saya) released a new MV for “Rhythm”, a song full of new wave vibes which will be featured in her upcoming album NEO SAYA.
Put a girl on a rooftop and you’ll probably get nothing interesting. Put an electric girl from Okinawa on a rooftop and you’ll probably get the most awesome MV of the last few months. 沖縄電子少女彩 (Okinawa Electric Girl Saya) keeps being one of the most enthralling artists in the alternative idol scene and you can clearly feel her fascinating aura in the music video for “リズム” (Rhythm).

The song feels very new wave-ish and nostalgic, as if it came from a time when the popularity of this dreamy synth pop sound was already declining in favor of new generations of pop and electronic music. The 80s vibe is really strong here, from the synth melodies to the bassline and the drums sounds; the song is almost ethereal, also thanks to Saya‘s filtered dreamlike vocals.

What’s more interesting it’s the video itself, shots in its entirety with no breaks and featuring Saya‘s hypnotic dance performance. It’s almost impossible to stop watching her interpreting this song in her natural habitat; and I’m not talking about a mere rooftop, but the musical world she turned it into, where this girl feel completely at ease and free to express herself. She is a very special and unique artist, and she proved it one more time with this video.

“リズム” will be included in Okinawa Electric Girl Saya‘s upcoming album NEO SAYA, which will be released on the 28th of April; get ready from some as awesome as unpredictable music from her. In the meantime, take advantage of the lockdown to fully enjoy this beautiful video as many times as you can.