If you haven’t checked Anthos*’s “OTHER”, make sure you do. If not for the dark, twisted approach to “R.N.P.N”, at least for the bass and vocal goodness that is “The Other Side”.
Title: THINK OF ME: OTHER Label: AIЯRIDE RECORDS. / Movic Release date: 13/10/2023 Genre: EDM/Chillout
1 - Project Archive: A 3-11
2 - Project Archive: A 3-12
3 - Project Archive: A 3-13
4 - Project Archive: A 3-14
5 - Project Archive: A 3-15
6 - R.N.P.N
7 - The Other Side
Track by track analysis:
1 – R.N.P.N
Anthos* kicks off this CD with “R.N.P.N”, song that brings a refreshing sound and performance style to the spotlight for the group.
First off, if this song sounds too lyrical in style – giving off Loulou*di vibes – then, you’re just a half into the big changes in sound for the group.
It is rare for Anthos* to have a dramatic style of instrumental especially as layered as this one. The dreamy vibes are soon replaced by a tight hi-hat-driven beat and deep, distorted synth emulating a bassline.
The instrumental never gets too crowded – at least, noticeable by the non-critical type of listener.
As you dig deep, the song is filled with layers and layers of instruments.
You have the deep bassline + distorted synths, the clean synth stabs, the lead synth melody, the beat (considering the hi-hat in the chorus is included with the main beat), the strings in the bridge, the atmospheric synths that play from start to finish and the world music instruments in the background for the intro.
These are just 7 of the various layers going on in this composition, straying away from the simpler style the group has had for several releases.
I’m a fan of such a change for the group. This happens to be a refreshing take on their sound while making the best out of the member’s strengths on the vocal end.
Tension rises and the chorus slows down the song, leaving the stage open for fancy synth stabs and a simple hi-hat beat. On top, Anthos* performs most of the chorus in unison, with several off-set parts (the vocal canons) adding more depth and dynamic to the performance.
The other big change in Anthos* style is in the vocals. This group has been experimenting with a lot of singing styles as of late. They keep the same melodic vein in this performance, however, blending clean singing and rapping seamlessly. The rapping feels almost like singing – with a bit of a bounce to it – and the singing has lyrical influences, putting more focus on drama and emotional delivery than the group usually does.
While the whole group impresses, it is worth putting the spotlight on Seiichiro Yamashita and Daiki Hamano.
They go off in the second verse with a face-off rap part that caught me off guard but sounds so go. Awesome flow by both – with Yamashita now boasting a rapid-fire flow – and fancy back-and-forth going on between them leading up to the bridge.
“R.N.P.N” may be an odd one in terms of presentation as it brings a lot of influences and inspirations to the mix but it kept me entertained for more listens than I expected when I first hit play.
2 – The Other Side
“The Other Side” brings big synths, creating a mesmerizing, almost dreamy intro to what is the best song in this release.
The verses have a chillout vibe to them, bringing back those memories of the group’s debut sound however they have a more mature vibe to them. The atmospheric synths set the scene and bring in nu-disco/space disco to the spotlight, keeping things simple and groovy throughout.
Synth stabs make their entrance and the bassline completely explodes in the background, going lower and lower to create one of the grooviest choruses Anthos* has presented us with.
I love the simplicity in this chorus. The atmospheric synths open up the curtains to a wide soundscape in which the sound echoes to no end. You’re left in a dreamy, pure white soundscape that feels warm and welcoming. That is a rare feeling in Anthos*s songs.
The bridge is so unique it features a hard-hitting breakbeat with lyrical vocals by Shunichi Toki and rapping by Daiki Hamano before shifting to a dreamy, slightly funky part led by Toshiki Masuda. Then the baton is passed to Kent Ito, Shun Horie, and Shunichi Toki to take it away with outstanding vocals.
When the last chorus should appear and blast for two measures you actually quickly cut to the outro. Unexpected, unique, and refreshing, this instrumental is a gift that keeps on giving to me.
What a way to wrap up this album. Beyond words.
I feel like Anthos* went darker with “OTHER”. This was something I was not expecting. On a first listen, you won’t notice how the group took an odd turn and brought their music slightly back to dark territory.
It’s when you dive into the lyrics of “R.N.P.N” that you notice that, despite the bright synth stabs and fancy lyrical style of performance, the group went a bit darker.
And I love that to bits.
For this song, the group brought in a new composer – INN – and that resulted in a song that, while it kept its essence, sounds like a highlight reel on the vocal end while showing a refreshing and mature take on their music. The lyrics go into dark territory while the instrumental doesn’t and that’s how you catch my attention. The unexpected twist in tone.
But do you know what I love the most? “The Other Side” of this CD.
I didn’t need more than 5 seconds to fall in love with “The Other Side”. Not even 5 seconds. As soon as the vocals made their entrance in falsetto, I was instantly head over heels for this song.
This is a massive song coming from Anthos*. And why is that? Well, the vocals are crazy.
Falsetto by everyone – I reckon not from Hamano as he still sounds in his lower range -, harmonies, a perfect unison, powerful individual parts with a lot of clarity, everyone showing an improved control on the vocal end… When Zakbee arrives to compose and be in charge of the vocal direction, good things always arrive.
He also ensures the vocals are extremely technical and melodic and that is exactly what you get in here. This is the most technical the group has been in unison. It is unreal.
Once again, I love how, all of a sudden, everyone is so high on their vocal range, harmonizing with each other, in what is one of the grooviest and fanciest songs coming from Anthos*.
It is worth mentioning that the group has been improving a lot – bringing surprises on the vocal end with each release – while experimenting with a mature twist to their dreamy chillout sound.
In 2023 Anthos* has been one of the groups I’ve been the most excited about their music but I just can’t predict what they’ll pull off next and they end up exceeding any high expectations I may have.
All this to say, if you haven’t checked “OTHER”, make sure you do. If not for the dark, twisted approach to “R.N.P.N”, at least for the bass and vocal goodness that is “The Other Side”.
“THINK OF ME: OTHER” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
“OTHER” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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