Review: BPM15Q- BPM15Q ALL SONGS

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For the last couple of years, Rinahamu and Nicamoq have teased their duo project, BPM15Q through a series of amazing singles, live videos and show only releases. This informality with their promotion has made them arguably one of the most interesting ‘idol’ -and I stress that I’m only using the term functionally here, I do not want to make those who have an allergic reaction to the ‘genre’ get turned off of something so wonderful- groups around. A certain level of mystique and ‘when are we going to get something more meaty?‘ always surrounded the electro/future bass inspired group and everything has been charmingly low-key regarding them. Now finally, we get that album, and meaty is an understatement. For those who do bother to listen to it will find theirselves with 35 minutes of absolute joy.

Without doing a track-by-track Batman!, let’s look at some of the major highlights. Opener (the aptly titled “BPM15Q“) sets the tone immediately. We get introduced to a bright, cute (but sincere) melody, which builds up to be backed with some incredibly hard beats. The breakdown hits like a motherfucker, and will likely have you dancing where you sit or stand- perhaps without you even realizing it. The vocals are cute as hell, and truly fit the style perfectly. It doesn’t feel like future bass with idol vocals- it feels like everything was built with the vocals in mind- and it just works. Perfectly.

HANNARI is one of the slower pieces, but where as slower pieces in most other idol releases generally equal to the ‘song that you skip’, this is essential. From its gentle, bubbly opening to its slow, blasting beats, the song is a marcher that is reminiscent of the great Jpop of the early noughties, all the while sounding fresh and modern. It’s surprising how much BPM15Q manage to get into a short three minute track without it sounding overcrowded or fatiguing. This track is a prime example of this.

GOOD LUCK is a wonderful tune, that just makes the listener feel GOOD. Its cute, but not sickeningly so, and the melody is guaranteed to get stuck in the listeners head. Its structured like a simple pop song, but it takes unexpected twists and turns throughout- and is always compelling. That’s another great attribute BPM15Q have- you can listen to it as just pop, and enjoy it as so; or you can sit down and really LISTEN to it. You will always pick up little nuances that you might not have heard on previous listens, like little vocal flourishes or background sound effects. Its rewarding both on an immediate and long-term level, and this will keep listeners coming back over and over again.

And then there’s Hakuchuumu, which is hands down, no doubt about it, THE song of 2016. Infectious, amazing, bright, powerful and outright destroys all idol tracks around it. The breakdown in the middle is absolutely face melting, its hard to not find yourself fist pumping to the pure bravado. If you’re gonna get crushed by kawaii this year, this is the song to choose. This is what jpop is all about folks.

The breakdowns in this album are to be commended, they are crushing and will get folk moving. Production is gorgeous, playful and bright. Listeners to PC music will notice certain elements from that scene sprinkled throughout- and it is a definitely a welcome addition. Vocals are set at a perfect level- never too loud and never intrusive- just float along with the tune brilliantly. It would be hard to find a song you would want to skip here- they are all certified ‘bangers’.

So get this damn album. Play it damn loud. Hide it from your partner (my wife has stolen it from me). It’s infectious, catchy, amazing, sweet, glorious Jpop that is a true breath of fresh air in the sea of idol. Its appeal will reach further than just the idol scene- I recommend it to anyone and everyone with even a slight interest in pop music- for this is a prime example of doing things right.

BPM15Q recently announced that they would become a 4 piece unit, called CY8ER. Let’s hope that they keep this quality up in the transformation- because it so, there is a LOT to be excited about.

9.5/10. What more can I say? It’s essential listening.

Review: BPM15Q- BPM15Q ALL SONGS

REVIEW: METAFIVE- METAHALF

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METAFIVE‘S debut album “META” was a truly rewarding and long lasting gem. Every time you listen to the super-band’s (consisting of founder Takashi Yukihiro, Oyamada Keigo (Cornelius), Towa Tei, Sunahara Yoshininori, Gondo Tomohiko and vocalist Leo Imai) LP, you pick something new up- and the wonderful, working chemistry between all members is quite frankly- a wonder to behold.

After touring META for a while, METAFIVE return with their new mini album- aptly titled “METAHALF“- and once again it delivers the goods aplenty. In fact, due to it’s tighter format, it might even be slightly BETTER than META- and that’s saying a hell of a lot.

What we have here is a wonderful collection of 5 tracks, clocking in at just over 21 minutes. Though short, it still manages to create a sense of flow and feels like a whole product, rather than a maxi-single, which is quite an impressive feat in it’s own right.

Highlights include the opener single “Musical Chairs“, which is as mesmerizing as it’s accompanying music video; with its swirling, hypnotizing beat and smooth vocals. It really sets the tone for whats to come- its at once familiar and warm, but also ridiculously cool and exciting. Old school sensibilities have never sounded so “fresh“. “Egochin” is the slow burner of the album- but it’s probably also the highlight of the lot. It’s smooth as butter on the ears, and has a perfect arrangement. The closer, the delightful and slightly cheesy “Submarine” ends on an upbeat note, with its overly bright synth hits and catchy chorus.

Sure the English lyrics may come across a little goofy at times- BUT, it also adds to the charm of the group. Leo Imai -who seemed like a strange choice to this listener at first- works amazingly with the group and always sounds natural. It’s a great way of bringing the older sensibilities of Takashi Yukihiro together with those of the newer generation (most notably Cornelius and Towa Tei, who’s input into these track is instantaneous just as recognizable)- a voice that is truly good enough to embrace and adapt to the stylistic changes throughout the band’s catalog. To put it simply, it all just works.

There are absolutely no nitpicks when it comes to production here- it is perfect, immaculate. Years of experience from all its members really show here- It really does sound like a more modern YMO. It’s a great example of a super-group delivering on it’s potential- fans of ANY of the artists involved are sure to get a real kick from it- and those who were impressed by META may find themselves enjoying this one even more due to it’s tighter approach and no room for any kind of filler. Highly recommended.

9/10– METAFIVE’s latest EP is a must have.

REVIEW: METAFIVE- METAHALF