Kensho Ono makes his second appearance this year with COLORS, mini-album that explores sonorities that fit his vocals like a glove.
Title: COLORS Label: Lantis Release date: 23/03/16 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
1 - NIGHT DRIVIN'
2 - ROLL UP
3 - FEEL SO NICE!!
4 - GOING HOME
5 - SNOW LIGHT
6 - BE WITH YOU
Track by track analysis:
1 – Night Drivin’
Funky summer instrumental is the first thing to pop in our mind when listening to this track’s intro, giving special attention to the guitar bu we cannot forget about the bass.
Unlike any other tracks released before, Night Drivin’ really has a nice and new vybe to it without relying to much on the synthetic drums and the synths as Kensho has done in previous tracks such as Touch the Style, we still have a perfect track for summer making one even think about parties.
Although the song doesn’t rely heavily on synths we still have some in the background, nothing like his previous tracks which sometimes even made people identifying his tracks with the K-pop genre.
This laid-back genre is not Kensho’s usual but unexpectedly suits him quite well although we don’t really have a chance to say if his vocal performance has leveled up or not given the thought that this track isn’t very challenging, vocal wise.
2 – Roll Up
If by one hand we had a funky summer track with few rock elements on the other we have this one which has them all. In this track Kensho returns to the genre that suits him best producing even better results.
This song really is a jewel in the album, the instrumental is heavy but not over the top putting the guitar as its main focus making its chorus probably one of the best ones.
Roll Up, a track with such potential almost went down the drain with a messy outro, that somehow ends up really similar to one of OLDCODEX’s tracks.
To try making things better we have a piano at the end that was a good choice and a choir making one sing along, as if you were in a live concert.
3 – Feel so nice!!
Another funky track, this time with a danceable instrumental. Returning to his origins with a lighter use of synths but with an instrumental that is fun and might even make one want to dance we have Feel so nice!!.
The bass is really going throughout the whole track, as if it was on “solo-mode”. However this track breaks the momentum brought by the previous tracks.
The outro really is the complete personification of a dance music created for the dance floor, relying on heavy synths, bass and drums plus some manipulated vocal samples, but after gaining some momentum the instrumental quickly returns to the beginning making a fade-out between the outro and the end of the track really abrupt.
4 – Going Home
Looking like a live acoustic concert, we have a peculiar intro of this track. Going Home is a bona-fide track perfect to listen to in front of a campfire in the summer.
It must be said that this tracks has the most innovative mix between an electric guitar the slight country instrumental ending up not being bad.
Unlike the other tracks so far in this album, Ono’s vocal performance really stands out along with the piano that completes his performance.
5 – Snow Light
A warm piano and strings make the perfect stage for Kensho to shine in this track that has a lot of potential as a ballad.
Snow Light is yet another track with a different genre but unlike some might have though he masters it with a simple instrumental with drums, a piano as the main focus not forgetting the strings with the bass in the background tying the loss ends of this track’s instrumental piece.
A ballad through and through was something the Ono really needed in his repertoire, just to show a little more how well he can sing and that is precisely what he did.
6- Be with You
A track screaming of the end of a live concert but do not get fooled by that since it ends up being an up-beat track with a calm instrumental, we only have a simple and slow drums and bass performance and trust us when we say it is more than enough for this track, but of course we could not forget the strings that are the responsible for the end result, a well-composed track.
Adding to it all, if one listens to the lyrics closely you’ll most likely end up thinking the same thing as us, this track’s lyrics seem to be a message for the fans.
COLORS is a good album to show Kensho’s performance with different genres. Although we had hoped he would’ve returned with a rock album we cannot complain since he did very good in almost all tracks.
While in some tracks Kensho tried to abandon the heavy synths and danceable instrumental like in Roll Up, Going Home and Snow Light, tracks that were really good, taking the example of Roll Up, a rock track that had a lot of potential and could’ve been even better if not for the sloppy outro or Snow Light that is a ballad, something we are not that used to expect from Ono but a track that he also did a great job adjusting his vocal performance to the instrumental resulting in an amazing ballad, probably one of the best tracks in the album.
Going Home is actually the song in the whole album that surprised us the most, a country instrumental is not what you would’ve have been expecting to listen to in a Kensho Ono’s release at all, but he was able to pull it off, so we have nothing bad to say regarding the track itself, even though the sequence of tracks was a little weird and broke the momentum a lot of times.
As a whole this album was a really good experience, it sounded like Kensho is trying to expand his horizon creating different music with different genres, seeing by experimenting and failing which ones suit him best. In the future we’ll be looking forward to see what Kensho’s next works will sound like.
“COLORS” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.