The wait is over for Hiroshi Kamiya ‘s new mini-album ハレヨン . As Kamiya‘s 3rd mini-album it brings it brings with it a lot of pressure from the fans that created a big hype around it, mainly in Japan. As a top seiyuu Kamiya always manages to draw everyone’s attention towards him and this release is no exception at all. ハレヨン had a lot of excitement around it, let’s see if it lives up to those expectations.
Mini-album: ハレヨン Label: Kiramune Release date: 27/08/14 Genre: J-Pop
1. Dolce Misto
2. START AGAIN
3. WALKIN' WALKIN'!
6. GLORIOUS TIME
Track by track analysis:
1 – Dolce Misto
With an european dance twist we kick off this mini-album. Dolce Misto is a mid-tempo electronic pop track resorting to a lot of synth work in the background with a catchy chorus to sweeten the deal. The instrumental piece provides us plenty to have fun listening to. The synths are the obvious main drive in this track but the minimal drums in the background alongside the acoustic guitar and the highly enhanced bass provide this track with enough ammunition to at least make this track a solid opener for this mini-album. On the vocal track we have Kamiya once again delivering each and every verse in the best way possible and he doesn’t fail at all. There were times, back in the day, when he sounded awful but with time he’s getting the hang out of singing and is sounding better these days, the proof is right here in Dolce Misto, the electronic pop appetizer for this mini-album. Interesting, not heavy electronica oriented, staying simple but sharp. 4/5
2 – START AGAIN
The title track that kicks off with a mid-tempo beat led by the synths and the synthetic drums, Hiroshi Kamiya joins the song in what we’d call, the mildest part of the song – after the drop-, everything until the chorus is calm, well-paced but not too exaggerated and when we reach the chorus we’re surprised by how good “Start Again” is. A clear electronic lead on the chorus with the synths impressing and making a good blend with Hiroshi’s vocals picking up the pace setting it to a mid-toned heavy influenced electronic pop song, a take on Hiroshi’s music completely different from the previous singles and mini-albums. The hints of the early 00’s European electro-pop are there with the synths but a bit of the most recent dancefloor “trends” are also here: a bit of dubstep on the slowest parts of the song doesn’t feel out of place, plus it’s not that exaggerated that will throw the non dubstep lovers out of the boat because of it. The vocal work is as expected by someone that is constantly improving as Hiroshi Kamiya, sounding good and fresh fitting the song like a glove. Simple dancefloor oriented song yet addictive enough that will really stay with you for a few weeks at least. 5/5 (As previously reviewed HERE)
3 – WALKIN’ WALKIN’!
Doing a 360 we have the bright WALKIN’ WALKIN’. It’s a milder track in comparison with the previous ones that resorted more in electronic aspect of the sound, instead it goes towards a more raw sound supported by the funky guitars, highly noticeable bass and the steady drums. Simple track that does not go long ways with the instrumental and instead focus all its power towards a sweet, fun track that will keep you entertained. Kamiya has an overall solid performance in this track, singing as usual without any problems or fails. In the end it’s a song that gives you a feel good vibe from the very first chords and its completely laid back instrumental really set an interesting pace into a mini-album that kicked off in a more electronic way. 4/5
4 – 孤独と情熱の焦点
And a rock track makes its appearance. 孤独と情熱の焦点 is by far the best track in the album. It’s something we’ve never ever seen/heard Kamiya perform and it’s good. Impressively enough the rock genre fits Kamiya as well as the electronica-oriented tracks. Heavy guitar riffs, a piano performance to die for, aggressive drums, dirty synths and and highly noticeable bass make this one of the best instrumentals that Kamiya has been presented to and presented us so far. It sounds great just from that viewpoint but when you add Kamiya‘s sharp, mid-toned vocals into it, it turns out even better. Short track but good stuff crammed into those 3:46 minutes of pure fun. 5/5
5 – SELFISH
And keeping the rock wave for yet another track we’re presented with SELFISH, a track that kicks off in a milder tone than the previous one. This track could have been easily a “Tetsuya Kakihara original” since this one is completely his face (well, they’re Kiramune fellow artists and most of the times share producers between them so it’s pretty normal to sound like someone else’s track). Even so, Kamiya delivers a solid vocal performance, keeping up with the fast pace set by the unstoppable drums and heavy bass. SELFISH is a fast pop-rock track resorting to the rock triad to support itself, it’s a pretty straight up track with small verses, short chorus, gradually building up momentum towards a fast chorus. Another simple track that turned out solid. 4/5
6 – GLORIOUS TIME
In the draw of the curtain we find a slow paced pop track going towards the, if you want to call it, “original” style Kamiya presented in his first singles/mini-albums. GLORIOUS TIME turned out to be a sweet song build up around the piano, giving that polished, gentle vibe to the track. Kamiya sounds incredibly well, what is expected of someone who debuted under with this musical genre as the main direction, delivering all the verses with an extreme pin point accuracy and sweetness that make this track incredibly beautiful and the perfect way to end this mini-album. 4/5
Hiroshi Kamiya is an all rounder in this mini-album.
His rock tracks sound incredible and impressive enough for once. His vocals usually seem sharper and a better fit for this genre and, in the end, it turned out that 孤独と情熱の焦点, a full fledged rock track, is the best track that we can extract from this mini-album. On the other side, his bright pop seems more polished than ever, now not resorting as much to those heavy pop instrumentals with a lot of things happening in the background and instead resorting to simpler music arrangements. Also, it’s the first time that a Hiroshi Kamiya’s music release has so many tracks oriented for the dancefloor. It’s a nice change for him, making his music more accessible for those who like him but weren’t fond enough of his trademark pretty pop.
“Dolce Misto” and “START AGAIN” are two incredibly good dance tracks that will, certainly, make a lot of people hit the dancefloor. But there was also time for a ballad with the ending track “GLORIOUS TIME“. This one was an interesting choice to end this album but that didn’t fail at all to impress. It’s a sweet track that really fitted like a glove in this release, enriching the overall quality of this mini-album. The vocal performances throughout the album sounded good, with Kamiya adapting to other genres besides pop or electronica and adding “musically versatile” into his curriculum.
All things considered, it’s not a perfect release but it’s safe to say that this is the best mini-album so far released by Hiroshi Kamiya.
Hareyon is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.