Review | QUELL “HEART”

QUELL


QUELL continue to explore the limits of their creativity with HEART and what follows is pure quality music.

For the CARDS series, card suits – Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades – are split within each unit series: ALIVE (SOARA, Growth) and SQ (SolidS and QUELL). Each group in a unit series will be in charge of two card suits.

The themes explored in each release are closely related to playing cards.


QUELL HEART

Title: SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 3 QUELL「HEART」
Label: Tsukipro/Movic 
Release date: 31/07/2020
Genre: Acoustic ballad / Lyrical Pop

Tracklist:

1 - Love You Forever 
2 - 愛の希望 
3 - Love You Forever -off vocal- 
4 - 愛の希望 -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

1 – Love You Forever

Glitchy synths quickly give way for a delicate piano melody and atmospheric synths. Those slowly introduce the listener to this track and help craft the ethereal soundscape you find in this track.

Acoustic guitars and a simple kick – snare beat set the tone of this track, one that is slow and overflowing with sweetness.

In a way, this song has an acoustic ballad touch

The chorus flows seamlessly, cashing in on all the gentleness that is going on in the verses and that sweet build-up in the pre-chorus. The tempo does not change – it doesn’t need to -, maintaining that comfortable slow pace for the duration of the song.

On the vocal end, QUELL go for a heartwarming performance that is made to put a smile on the listener’s face.


2 – 愛の希望

Ai no Kibo goes the dramatic route. A harpsichord sets a dark, tense vibe to this track, something that, alongside the bouncy, bassy synths playing in the background + the choir / chants completely drew me in.

When those dramatic violin and cello melodies kick in, the song is already long gone into dark territory, something that it is pretty unusual from this quartet.

When it comes to vocals, QUELL’s members went for a bump in their register for this track. Shugo Nakamura, Koutaro Nishiyama and Sho Nogami certainly went for those high notes in this performance and Shunsuke Takeuchi’s bass vocals were the perfect complement to the drama that the background choir brought to this song.

Robust performance of a type of song that I was not expecting from QUELL.


Final considerations

As it has been a trend with QUELL, their songs and vibes shift from song to song as well as release to release. They do not have 2 songs sounding exactly the same.

In HEART, the quartet’s 2nd entry in the CARDS series, fans got quite possibly one of the sweetest singles QUELL has put out.

The theme was HEART and the group really embraced it, going for a set of two songs with slight romantic and ballad undertones.

This is a first coming from this unit that is usually found experimenting with the most unexpected melodies and mixes of instruments.

Love You Forever is a unique kind of ballad. It takes their ethereal, atmospheric synth-driven sound and blends it with warm acoustic guitar riffs and gentle piano melodies.

The song is pretty simple at its core but, contrary to other songs of theirs that are this simple, it exudes a lot of warmth. It can’t be said enough, this is a really sweet song.

The gentleness in Love You Forever is countered by the eerie vibe and dramatic sound and performance by QUELL in Ai no Kibo.

This is the kind of song that, no matter how much someone describes it to you, you’ll need to listen for yourself to feel that vibe and be put on that soundscape and experiencing the whole song.

It’s a really good song that, if I didn’t know already that I was listening to QUELL, I’d have made the mistake of saying this was Growth’s song.

That dramatic tone that begs for a lyrical performance is in this song and thankfully, QUELL were more than up to the task at hand and delivered a confident and intense performance.

Their work as a unit continues to improve, with everyone showcasing good control over their vocals and have more instances in which they are working in pairs rather than solo parts chained together.

The vibrato and falsetto going on in Ai no Kibo made the song go the extra mile in eerie territory. This was a nice touch to their already outstanding performance.

All in all, QUELL, delivered yet another jaw dropping performance by tackling vibes and sounds that you wouldn’t normally associate with them and then by improving their vocals to the point that they could add that extra bit of flair to either their performances or the song’s overall dynamic.

Top marks once again.


SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 3 QUELL「HEART」 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


REVIEW OVERVIEW
Love You Forever
愛の希望
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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