Review | Anthos* “INCOMPLICA:IT~ICON~”

Anthos* returns to its origins with an aesthetically pleasing, pure white yet warm CD with “ICON”. This is the best the unit has released in two years.

Hana-Doll* is an idol project created by movic (TSUKIPRO, VAZZROCK, Tsukiuta, etc). 7 idols are part of Anthos, group signed to the fictional talent agency Amagiri Production.

Anthos* is comprised of Kent ItoWataru KomadaToshiki MasudaShunichi TokiDaiki Hamano, Seiichiro Yamashita, and Shun Horie.


Title: INCOMPLICA:IT~ICON~
Label: AIЯRIDE RECORDS. / Movic
Release date: 15/04/2022 
Genre: Minimalistic Electronica/Pop

Tracklist:

1 - Project Archive: A 2-11
2 - Project Archive: A 2-12
3 - Project Archive: A 2-13
4 - Project Archive: A 2-14
5 - Project Archive: A 2-15
6 - Umbilical Lover
7 - The Place of Fate

Track by track analysis:

6 – Umbilical Lover

Anthos* embraces a loungy sound for “Umbilical Lover”, kicking off this song with mid-tempo seesaw and poly synths to set a dreamy tone to this track.

In the verses, things are kept simple in the first part, with a subtle clap track joining in to add an extra punch to the beat. When you reach the 2nd part of the verses, strings and synths soar in the background, taking you to a pure white soundscape.

What awaits you in the chorus is beautiful.

It will sound incredibly simple yet its composition is extremely effective in drawing the listener’s attention to it, with washy, pulsing synths making sure the beat hits harder. 

And on top of that downtempo beat is one of Anthos*’s strongest choruses to date. If the performances in the verses were already pretty good, with all members riffing, ad-libbing, and even the rap duo showing their singing chops, the chorus is mesmerizing.

Not only is the soundscape pure but the vocals – going for those high notes in a mix of falsetto and head voice – also sound “pure”. When it comes to the harmonies, Anthos* shows that it’s on top of its game, with all members showcasing how in sync they are.

7 – The Place of Fate

Synth stabs and minimalistic tropical elements welcome you to “The Place of Fate”, song with an inspiring and hopeful sound, something that is rare in Anthos*’s repertoire.

After an intense intro, the song changes dynamics for its first verse, going minimalistic with a simple bass drum beat, slowly evolving to a snare + bass drum beat as the bassline joins in the song.

Then, as you get closer to the chorus, the song welcomes summery synths, taking you by hand to the chorus.

The chorus brings electric guitar riffs played in funky style, something that, alongside the awesome percussion in this song – something akin to timbales in terms of timbre (or just really high toms with a sort of metallic sound) and a sampled beat – and the smooth, dreamy synths make this part shine.

You’re taken to a summery soundscape, a warm orange hue in the background. This is the type of song that has a motivational tone, I dare say a song that is made to put a smile on your face. It certainly has put one on mine.

And on the vocal end, Anthos* delivers a masterclass, mixing warm mid-tones and beautiful high tones, the latter used to dissipate the tension that is built towards the chorus. Expect falsetto and plenty of head voice in this song as well as a couple of unison sections that sound incredibly tight.

Fantastic way to wrap up this CD.


Final considerations

After a couple of iterations to tropical house, Anthos* is back at its best with “ICON”

Umbilical Lover” is one of those songs that is really hard to describe not because of its complexity – it’s actually a pretty simple song – but for how unique is the feeling it gives off.

For me, the song has a “purity” aspect to it, almost like it is “too perfect” to be true. It’s that pure white soundscape that is difficult to describe but it is also that soundscape that made me listen to this song more than a couple of times, not even noticing when it was wrapping up and when it was starting. 

The Place of Fatebrings some happiness and hope to the spotlight as Anthos*’s members reminisce about their place of fate. This is an upbeat song that, for once, is not twisted. 

For both songs, there was a focus on the vocals matching the tone and soundscapes, with everyone being on top of their game for the harmonies and completely going off in their individual parts, showcasing their technique, bringing falsetto, riffing, head voice, between many fancy things that enrich their overall performances.

When you wrap up listening to “ICON”, you’re left with the feeling of this being a slightly more upbeat and gentle CD than previous entries in Anthos*’s repertoire.

On my end, I feel like this is Anthos*’s best release in the past 2 years, a perfect return to their original aesthetically pleasing sound.


INCOMPLICA:IT~ICON~ is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


ICON” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support Anthos* by streaming via official outlets.

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Umbilical Lover
The Place of Fate

SUMMARY

"ICON" takes Anthos*'s back to its aesthetically pleasing sound and uniquely wide, dreamy soundscapes while bringing in the quality in its lineup to deliver two mesmerizing performances. "Purity" and "happiness" are important concepts driving the music in this CD forward, with "Umbilical Lover" impressing for its scale and pure sound while "The Place of Fate" arrived as a massive surprise with a truly happy sound and lyrics with a hopeful, slightly inspiring tone. When it comes to the vocals, Anthos* is perfectly in sync and in tune, with all members showing their cards individually and bringing in their power and technique as a unit when unisons are required. All in all, "ICON" is a return to the group's origins but now with a more upbeat outlook - or should I say, matured outlook - of what set Anthos* on this journey as artists. Flawless entry in Anthos*'s repertoire.

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"ICON" takes Anthos*'s back to its aesthetically pleasing sound and uniquely wide, dreamy soundscapes while bringing in the quality in its lineup to deliver two mesmerizing performances. "Purity" and "happiness" are important concepts driving the music in this CD forward, with "Umbilical Lover" impressing for its scale and pure sound while "The Place of Fate" arrived as a massive surprise with a truly happy sound and lyrics with a hopeful, slightly inspiring tone. When it comes to the vocals, Anthos* is perfectly in sync and in tune, with all members showing their cards individually and bringing in their power and technique as a unit when unisons are required. All in all, "ICON" is a return to the group's origins but now with a more upbeat outlook - or should I say, matured outlook - of what set Anthos* on this journey as artists. Flawless entry in Anthos*'s repertoire.Review | Anthos* "INCOMPLICA:IT~ICON~"