SP!CA, Maten Rocket, Just 4 U, RayGlanZ and La-Veritta continue to grow before our eyes (and ears). For this release, each unit took upon them the challenge of showcasing something different, and they passed it with flying colors.
Title: Readyyy! Project 2nd Label: WAVE MASTER Release date: 11/06/2018 Genre: Pop/Ballad/Rock
1 - SP!CA ～Blue Light Stars～ (SP!CA) 2 - スタートライン (Maten Rocket) 3 - DOKI DOKI (Just 4U) 4 - すきだ (RayGlanZ) 5 - COLOR (La-Veritta)
Track by track analysis:
1 – SP!CA ～Blue Light Stars～
SP!CA kick off this release with their mid-tempo dance tune “Blue Light Stars“. Ambient synths set a relaxing tone to this song even if the synth lead, bass line and beat, all take this song to dancefloor anthem territory. The reason why this instrumental is this addictive is because its pacing isn’t uptempo just for the sake of causing an impact. You can feel its energy through the fancy synth work, the simple bass drum beat and the progressive piano melody that puts everything together perfectly. This time around, SP!CA didn’t focus on presenting an impressive vocal performance. Aside from the chorus, verses are all performed with auto-tune on top. For those that don’t fancy auto-tune, it might take a while for this song to grow on you. Their work on the chorus however, is what we were expecting from them: synchronicity and energy. A solid first track. 4.5/5
2 – スタートライン
“Start Line” kicks off in a slow paced, quieter note than the previous song. Their youthful pop-rock sound is toned down with slow paced drums, simple guitar licks, a noticeable bass line, all coated in delicate strings to give off an inspiring, feel good vibe. The pacing and instrumentalization put this song among the best on this release. On the vocal end, Maten Rocket surprised me. They’ve improved a lot since their last release. Individually there were little to no issues, with every single member delivering a consistent performance. When comes to the group parts, Maten Rocket prove once again that they have excellent team work and chemistry. If the listener gets too immerse in this song, their performance in the chorus – alongside the explosion of emotion in that section – will make goosebumps. Sweet song with a bright and inspiring tone. 5/5
3 – DOKI DOKI
And the best song on this release is hands down the alluring R&B-ish dance tune “DOKI DOKI“. With R&B at the instrumental’s core, this song brings back the flavor and allure that R&B pop and dance-pop had in the past decade by the hands of pop acts such as TVXQ. Bass plays a major role for this instrumental, being pivotal to bring out that groovy vibe the listener gets while listening to this tune. Groovy, this instrumental counts with the help of laidback, summer-y piano melodies and a powerful bass line setting the tone for the slow paced verses, however, when electric guitar riffs make their big entrance in the chorus, the air about Just 4U changes. The instrumental is still loungy but there’s a new allure to it. On the vocal end, Just 4U impress. They went all out for their performance and performed with confidence and emotion, taking this song to a whole other level. Among the various highlights on the vocal end is the amount of falsetto on their performance and the ease with which all members incorporated it in their singing. Haruto Kuroki and Issei Furuta brought vibrato, solid falsetto and groovy mid-tones at the same time that Taiki Bito and Shun Yasuda brought higher notes and falsetto to the table. Their synergy made the blend of mid with high tones to create this addictive and groovy performance. 5/5
4 – すきだ
RayGlanZ impressed in the previous release with their imposing dance sound however, this time around, the trio changed gears and went towards opposite territory. With an emotional ballad as their backdrop, it was time for this talented trio to showcase a different side to both their sound and vocals. The song kicks off with a delicate piano melody that loops in the background, setting a delicate tone to this song. Strings, guitar licks, a simple bass line and bass drum beat complete this emotional tune. The vibe is delicate and sweet, a complete opposite to their first release. Vocally, Shuma Konoe, Masamu Ono and Katsuyuki Miura weren’t shy about showcasing their singing skills, delivering an all-rounded performance in which falsetto, ad-libs and sweet mid-tones impress the listener time-after-time. “Sukida” is the sweetest song on this release, a memorable ballad song. 5/5
5 – COLOR
This release wraps up with La-Veritta‘s “COLOR“. Sweet bass lines, acoustic guitar riffs, synths, delicate strings and piano melodies create a sweet and quiet soundscape. Its acoustic sound makes this song and easy-listen that will satisfy fans of their first song as well as those only now getting a taste of their sound. However, I felt that they played too safe with this instrumental, avoiding putting this duo in a completely new environment. Vocally, La-Veritta continue to impress, ranking among the top 3 best units in this department (the others being RayGlanZ and Just 4U). Sakakihara‘s high and mid-tones are as stable as ever and Tanaka‘s sweet mid-tones continue to leave a mark. Their teamwork is flawless, something that shows in their synced performances and solid harmonizations. Entertaining entry that fell slightly short due to, perhaps, playing too safe with their sound. 4.5/5
All groups within Readyyy! Project upped their ante in order to deliver fresh performances that would showcase a different side to them.
SP!CA brought progressive synths and a summer-y beat to deliver an entertaining performance with “Blue Light Stars“. The focus was far from being on the vocals, as those were with auto-tune during the verses, but when there there was no auto-tune in the mix, the unit showcased their chemistry and delivered an on sync, energetic performance. Even if the auto-tune ended up working well with the song’s theme, taking the focus out of their vocals might have not been the smartest idea, especially when the members are still trying to prove themselves.
Maten Rocket didn’t make big changes in their sound, continuing to embrace their youthful pop-rock sound. However, when listening to their song and paying attention to their individual and collective performances, it’s noticeable that this group is growing at an incredible rate. In a previous review I mentioned that, out of all Readyyy! Project’s groups, Maten Rocket were the group that lacked most on the vocal end. The same can’t be said this time around. They’ve improved a lot individually, with everyone showing more consistency and control over their vocals.
Out of all groups, RayGlanZ were the only group that changed both their sound and singing in a drastic way. The trio put aside their powerful and alluring sound and replaced it with a quieter, simpler and sweeter sound. This drastic change was perfect to showcase the talent that this group has. Vocally, they were able to adapt perfectly to this ballad and, out of every group featured on this release, they have the best vocal performance. Just like in Just 4U, everyone in RayGlanZ can perform in falsetto or tap into a higher register with precision. Their harmonies were surprisingly good and their individual work continues to be off the charts.
To wrap up this release we have La-Veritta, the talented duo known for their regal sound. They did change their sound but only slightly, introducing acoustic elements into the mix. In comparison with their first release “COLOR” felt a bit weaker and comparing with all songs on this release, it was the one that least impressed. It would have been interesting La-Veritta had changed their sound drastically to showcase something different from what they had already shown. Of course, the duo is incredibly talented and continue to showcase their consistency and teamwork with a flawless performance.
Readyyy! Project‘s units continue to grow before our eyes (and ears). Each unit took upon them the challenge to showcase something different from what they had done previously. It is exciting to know that, with only one month between the 1st and 2nd CD, everyone was able to improve a lot on the vocal end. This shows how talented each unit is.
All units in this project are exciting and unique, showing a passion and talent that is a good indicator for what awaits us in future releases.
This release is available for purchase on iTunes.