Over the years, Growth have managed to establish themselves as a reference among 2D idol groups with their lyrical singing and baroque sound. DIAMOND is result of bringing to the table the best parts about their music and elevate it.
Title: ALIVE ｢CARDS｣ Series Volume 2 Growth｢DIAMOND｣ Label: Tsukipro/Movic Release date: 24/01/2020 Genre: Lyrical pop
1 - HOPE DIAMOND 2 - 憧憬のマテリア 3 - HOPE DIAMOND -off vocal- 4 - 憧憬のマテリア -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
1 – HOPE DIAMOND
Growth go dark and dramatic for HOPE DIAMOND. The melodies are ominous. The piano is dramatic. The choir adds grandiosity as well as another layer of drama to this song. However, if you were expecting an all-out dramatic song with a picturesque touch, Growth certainly will surprise as this song takes a minimalistic turn to electronica – a staple of their in the debut days – and tweaked it around just enough to make our jaws drop. The sitar solo, the haunting vocals – with a lot of Latin in the mix – and the urgency in the simple, bass drum beat make this song stand out for how exquisite it is while exploring motifs and sonorities the group has previously explored. HOPE DIAMOND is a strange song with a dark vibe and extremely addictive sound underneath powerful vocals. 5/5
2 – 憧憬のマテリア
Dokei no Materia takes an interesting melancholic turn and brings longing piano melodies, dramatic strings hits and a marching band-inspired snare drum beat. The soundscape created is gentle and warm with a whole lot of nostalgia going on. On the vocal end we find a completely different approach by the group, putting aside their theatrical, dramatic lyrical singing and embracing a less technical singing that put their range to test with ethereal high notes and sweet ad-libs. 5/5
For a group such as Growth, in which quality is always expected and comes with each release, it is still hard to come with new ways to impress, new approaches on the vocal end, new soundscapes that will take their listeners to worlds of fantasy.
DIAMOND shows glimpses of those struggles but overcomes those with two stellar songs that end up being incredibly fresh entries in the group’s repertoire.
HOPE DIAMOND certainly lends a lot from the group’s earlier sound, something we can find in 2015’s 自由の鳥 (Jiyu no tori) however, it capitalizes in years of experiences to take that sound a step further and stray away from that progressive dance sound. At the same time, it brings to the table the middle-eastern sonority – with the sitar taking up on an important role – that we found in 2015’s Supernova and ルクレシア (Lucrecia) or in 2018’s 追憶のネニア (Tsuioku no nenia).
On the vocal end it has the makings of 2015’s グレゴリオ (Gregorio) and the masterpiece that still is 2017’s 魔法のキズナ (Mahou no Kizuna). Some of these elements or small details might go unnoticed but they show a group that is certainly trying to find a new sonority while exploring previous entries and cast its best parts into one impressive track. While we pick elements from this song and find it similar to previous entries, the fascinating thing is that, as a whole, this song sounds like nothing we have ever listened from them. That is one of the charming points about this group: to always sound fresh even when revisiting previous soundscapes or sonorities.
On the other hand, Dokei no Materia introduces listeners to a rather unique track. At the same time the instrumental takes a more contained, simpler and less dramatic turn, the lyrical touch in the vocals is put aside, in favor of a more textbook balladesque performance in which the group’s high notes shine. The uniqueness of the track comes exactly with that, as it has been rare for Growth to perform songs that do not require drama or a lyrical touch.
All in all, Growth set, once again, the bar high for their entry in the CARDS series. DIAMOND is a stunning single, featuring dreamy soundscapes in which we want to lose ourselves in, exploring novel and past elements in a tasteful and unique way and delivering top tier performances on the vocal end.
ALIVE ｢CARDS｣ Series Volume 2 Growth｢DIAMOND｣ is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.