If you’re rushing to get right into the Soutaiseriron album, hold up. Sit down for a second. Isolate yourself from the pesky distractions of the outside world, flick your social contacts, friends and family aside. Grab the best pair of headphones you own- you’re gonna need it for the fullest experience. Tensei Jingle is all about preparation, and if you’re not prepared, you might just miss what the big deal is about.
Tensei Jingle is a hard album to write about for me- at the time of writing this, I am fully in it’s clutches. It refuses to let me go. It’s a world of subtleties and fake smiles. Nothing is as simple as it seems here. Like any person, the more time you spend with it, the more it reveals what’s truly lying there- and it’s both entirely sinister and rewarding.
It’s not an album full of hit you in the face bops. While it still is firmly set in the world of J-pop, there isn’t anything bubbly or super sweet here. Instead you are exposed, no, treated to an album of dense, compelling atmosphere. It’s occasionally creepy and even downright dark- and it focuses on buildup rather than ‘check out my catchy riff’. That’s not to say that there aren’t any catchy passages- there are, tonnes of them. But Soutaiseriron demand you find them yourself.
From its somewhat hopeful sounding opener, “Tenchi Souzou SOS” to the creepy and overbearing beats of closer (and lead single) “FLASHBACK“, the album is always compelling. Some of the tracks seem a little too simple at first- but as mentioned above, reveal themselves in repeat listening. This is mainly for the fact that the production value is outstanding and truly exciting. It’s never too loud, always bright yet still remains somewhat gloomy and mysterious. It’s thrilling.
The band work in a tight unison. Never are there any showy moments- there’s never a sense of WE MUST IMPRESS OUR LISTENER NOW! It’s a slow burn and it’s just plain admirable. Everything is just right, the instrumentation is subtle and refreshing, and the vocals match perfectly with everything going on around them. It’s a fantastic effort and comeback from one of the most interesting groups working in the Japanese pop scene today. Highly recommended, just make sure you have the patience for it.
9/10 In a world smothered by groups that cram all and everything into their releases, it’s what Soutaiseriron didn’t do that makes this album so spectacular.