Clarity, unit consisting of Tasuku Hatanaka, Shunsuke Takeuchi, Masatomo Nakazawa and Shuuta Morishima have officially made their debut. Dramatic as well as funky, this group explores contrasting colors, managing to deliver a solid debut single.
Clarity are part of Pony Canyon and Voltage Inc‘s collab smartphone game “Anidol Colors” alongside 7Colors.
Title: Trip x Trap Label: Pony Canyon Release date: 20/09/2017 Genre: J-Pop
1. Trip × Trap 2. Delicious night! 3. Trip × Trap［inst.］ 4. Delicious night!［inst.］
Track by track analysis:
1. Trip × Trap
Trip × Trap has a dramatic tone that is reminiscing of Feromen‘s trademark sound, but that’s where the similarities end. Strings are the catalyst to the dramatic, longing vibe we feel as soon as we listen to the song. Fast paced synthetic drums and erratic synths complete the simple instrumental. As much as this song’s vibe has sparked an interest, the execution leaves a bit to be desired. The verses are certainly well paced, showing a sense of urgency, danger and are incredibly clean but did the instrumental need to go all out and increase its speed during the chorus? No. As a matter of fact, if the producers wanted this song’s dramatic potential to be fully unlocked, we dare say that it would have been best to not change the tempo and simply switch the synthetic drums for the real deal or add powerful guitar riffs; they could even opt for the simple yet classy way: powerful, emotional performances. While the vocal performances are not bad – minus some hiccups thanks to Nakazawa‘s overall shaky performance -, the chorus could have used, for example, Hatanaka‘s falsetto or Takeuchi‘s intimidating low vocals. It is a fairly good instrumental with a fairly solid performance, not the best coming from these seiyuu but still an overall good performance. 4/5
2. Delicious night!
Now onto a funky tune. Brass, funky bassline, splashy drums and melodic, jazzy guitar riffs and licks are responsible for setting a playful and classy mood. Melodic, slow paced and with lots of clean sections to make the vocals standout, this song is the right one to test everyone’s vocals. In regards of the vocal department we have a few things of note. Nakazawa does a pretty good job on this song, managing to go head-to-head with everyone and shine – even if just a little bit -, Hatanaka‘s melodic mid-tones shine throughout the song, Takeuchi is, surprisingly, singing in a higher register than usual but he fares incredibly well and Morishima surprised us with his upbeat, solid performance. It seems that everything was playing according to their plans and they knew exactly how to deliver a strong, synced and fun performance. As a whole, “Delicious night!” is a fun jazz-pop song that showcases a completely different side to this unit. While not perfect, this song certainly is catchy – in a good way – and a blast to listen to. 4.5/5
Contrary to their peers 7Colors, Clarity don’t have a star studded lineup, as a matter of fact, only two members are highly regarded as singers – even if they are still on their rookie years as solo or group members -. Without a star studded lineup, Clarity do a fantastic job with this single. All four voice colors are distinct but clicked well between themselves, the results are easily noticeable on both songs but the epitome of their chemistry lies on “Delicious night!“.
The title track showed a dangerous, slightly sexy and dramatic side to this unit. It sure was interesting to listen to “Trip × Trap“, the only thing we found disappointing was the chorus as a whole. It lacked power, especially when the whole dramatic vibe was more than settled, not opting for an equally dramatic chorus was anticlimatic. Also the issues regarding the chorus’ tempo. Increasing the instrumental’s tempo and not increasing the vocals’ led to an odd sounding chorus. It seemed like a lot was going on in the background when in reality, there was only an odd ball synth running wild and an out of place drums sample that was excessively bassy and not enough snary.
Tasuku Hatanaka shines on this single. On both songs he’s clearly the one leading the way, the tone that stands out the best, the most consistent performer.
Shunsuke Takeuchi not singing in a low register is a first time for us. And Takeuchi singing with this kind of register just shows that it hinders the possibilites to shine in a group context – during the choruses he’s often muffled or behind everyone’s voices instead of standing out. It is a fresh approach to his vocals especially when everyone is used to his powerhouse, versatile low vocals.
Masatomo Nakazawa has a lot of work on his hands if he wants to standout or at least be on level with all the talented singers within this group. He was incredibly shaky on the title track and managed to redeem himself on “Delicious Night!“. He’s not known for his singing skills and this is actually the first unit he’s a part of so we believe that, with time, he might improve his vocals.
Shuuta Morishima is skilled. Not like we anticipated, but he is skilled. For someone that lists his skills as “gospel singing” he sure does lack a bit of emotion at times – which is a bit contradictory. He sounds a bit disconnected on “Trip x Trap” but thankfully everything is connected during “Delicious Night!” and he manages to deliver a complete, melodic performance.
As a whole, Clarity are a cohesive group, there’s not much to be picky about, especially when they know how to deliver vocally rich performances and the instrumentals are quite enjoyable. “Trip x Trap” is a consistent release, providing a comfortable debut for Clarity.