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.