GRANRODEO “move on! Ibara Michi” (Review)

GRANRODEO Ibara michi

GRANRODEO strays away from their trademark sound for the newest single, move on! Ibara michi.

GRANRODEO move on! ibara michi
Title: move on! Ibara Michi
Release date: 02/08/2017 
Label: Lantis 
Genre: Hardrock/Rock

Tracklist:

1. move on! イバラミチ
2. 恋は mirage
3. エンドレスサマー
4. move on! イバラミチ (OFF VOCAL)
5. 恋は mirage (OFF VOCAL)
6. エンドレスサマー (OFF VOCAL)

Track by track analysis:

1. move on! イバラミチ

Surprising everyone, move on! Ibara Michi kicks off with a woman counting down in mandarin in what is a snippet of this song’s Chinese influences. e-ZUKA‘s melodic guitar riffs blend with the mix of traditional Chinese 3 chorded instruments, sanshin and sanxian – that sound similar to the Japanese shamisen -, creating an addictive melody that is complete with thematic synths, a minimal bassline and mid-tempo bassy drums.

Instead of going all out with a powerful solo in the bridge, it’s a nice change of pace to have a simpler solo that doesn’t disregard e-ZUKA‘s genius guitar skills but also doesn’t go overboard with them.

KISHOW‘s vocals are rather smooth this time around, which is normal taking into account the this song has a lot of melodic parts – the highlights go to the pre-choruses. An all rounded performance with an eastern Asian touch.


2. 恋は mirage

It’s not a GRANRODEO single if there’s not a funky song on it. Koi wa mirage has melodic guitar riffs that lead the way for the simple, playful drums and the noticeable bass. The verses are rather quiet in comparison with the bundle of fun that is the chorus. Surfer rock was not something we’d expect from them but we were pleasantly surprised with it.

KISHOW‘s vocals are once again stellar. His falsetto and high notes are crystal clear and smooth. On another side, this might not sound like much but his English pronunciation has improved a lot.

All in all, Koi wa mirage is an exciting song with a catchy chorus that doesn’t disregard GRANRODEO‘s stapple high quality music. 


3. エンドレスサマー

If one funky song was not enough, GRANRODEO made sure to include another one. In comparison with the previous song, Endless Summer lends a bit of it’s danceable vibe to latin percussion and the melodic acoustic guitar work in the verses. Even if this song doesn’t rely on power to impress, the drum work for this song is the most technical we find on this single.

The bass gets its first time to shine on this single thanks to this song. It delivered a memorable performance that not only enriched the instrumental, but also helped bring to life the laidback, danceable vibe we get from this song.

By the way, the acoustic guitar solo is to die for, especially when it’s played with a Spanish touch. In the vocal department, KISHOW‘s high notes are ethereal and his energy is contagious. 

Endless Summer is a fantastic addition to this single and an even better way to finish this single.


Final considerations

First of all, if you were expecting move on! Ibara Michi to be a heavy single, you’ll be disappointed. GRANRODEO decided to experiment new things this time around and the result was actually pretty good. Don’t expect heavy guitar riffs, fast paced drums or thunderous basslines, none of those are part in this single. 

move on! Ibara Michi takes the band to alternative rock territory showcasing a more radio friendly sound.

The lyrics have a pop touch to it, simultaneously the instrumentals range from embracing eastern Asian and Latin inspirations, impressing us with the unique melodies brought to life. Even if guitars are not the main focus for this single, it is nice to hear e-ZUKA embracing and implementing different techniques/elements and music genres for his performances.

It doesn’t matter if he’s shredding on the title track or delivering a rich danceable acoustic guitar performance in エンドレスサマー (Endless Summer), his work sure doesn’t go unnoticed.

This single might stray away from the band’s trademark sound but it still retains GRANRODEO‘s essence – the eye catching guitar work and KISHOW‘s powerhouse vocals.

This time around the vocals weren’t as difficult to perform as some of their previous songs demanded. Still fans can find him tackling falsetto and high notes as if it was an easy feat.

move on! Ibara Michi paints GRANRODEO in a different color, a color that brings to life a more energetic and upbeat side of the band. Get ready to have fun with this summery release!


move on! Ibara Michi is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


REVIEW OVERVIEW
move on! Ibara Michi
Koi wa mirage
Endless Summer
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. A year later, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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