Review | FAM “Reach for the Top”

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FAM

FAM brings back the fast-paced rock sound that marked their debut CD, however a couple of changes to their dynamic drag it back quality-wise.

Brief introduction

ENLIGHTRIBE is a full-scale rock x character project by movic (Tsukipro, Tsukiuta, VAZZROCK, etc.).

ENLIGHTRIBE counts with 3 bands in its lineup: FAM, SHIFTYZ, and ESMERALDA.

For more details on this project, make sure to check this guide.

Review

Title: ENLIGHTRIBE side.FAM -Reach for the Top-
Release date: 24/09/2021
Label: Movic
Genre: Rock / Punk-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - 衝動
2 - Biting Back
3 - drama track side.FAM #2
4 - drama track side.FAM #3
5 - 衝動 -Instrumental-
6 - Biting Back -Instrumental-

Track by track analysis:

1 – 衝動

Riveting, fast-paced punk-rock drums lead the way for “Shoudou”.

The song never slows down, going for a high octane presentation, with shredding guitar riffs, bassy drums, and a thunderous bassline.

The chorus explodes in intensity, however, I feel like the vocals don’t quite match that intensity, getting a bit lost in the reckless guitar riffs.

This time around, on vocals, you find not only Tomohiro Yamaguchi but also Fumiyoshi Shioya, Tetsuei Sumiya, and Toshinari Fukamachi. They only help out during the chorus and each has a brief part in the bridge.

2 – Biting back

Dirty, overdriven guitar riffs open the hostilities for “Biting back”, a song with an aggressive, bassy sound at its core.

The verses have an interesting structure, starting simple and almost devoid of anything flashy, slowly building up into the aggressive sound we get.

While chants are a good part of hyping up the listener, a section that goes for over 15 seconds of nothing but those chants has the opposite effect.

The listener will wonder if anything different will happen followed by a “when does this end?”. It can also detract enjoyment from the song itself, and it makes the band sound bad while making the lyricist sound lazy.

So, when crafting a rock tune that riles people up, there’s always good sense in not making chants go for longer than 10 seconds, especially in short songs like this one.

This is something that certainly ticks me off but, of course, you may actually find that part enjoyable, like an intermission before cranking up the intensity once again.

Final considerations

For this new season of CDs, FAM brings not only the vocals of Tomohiro Yamaguchi but also Fumiyoshi Shioya, Tetsuei Sumiya, and Toshinari Fukamachi.

While this is an interesting idea to play around with, I feel like it was overused, ending up diluting the quality of FAM’s music, especially when it comes to the performances. What made the band stand out, aside from their punk-rock sound, was Tomohiro Yamaguchi’s rough performances.

Having a choir or chants in all songs in this single is a bit too much. There are songs in which chants work well, there are those in which they don’t work. You may use chants to heighten the tension, to add an epic touch to a song, to rile people up. If all your songs feature chants, listeners will get fed up.

That formula sort of works in “Shoudou” but it certainly doesn’t in “Biting Back”.

I wonder if the focus from now on is going to be on making FAM sound like a boyband with frequent chants in their songs or if that is only reserved to specific songs, depending on the mood or feelings being conveyed.

Shoudou” has a really cool punk-rock sound but Yamaguchi’s vocals are strangely soft, you can even say “weak” in the chorus. “Biting Back” has a robust, raw sound that I absolutely love but those chants drag on for too long.

So yeah, plenty of experimentation going on in the vocal end, interesting ideas with the instrumentals however “Reach for the Top” doesn’t really quite make it, it gets stuck mid-way through.


ENLIGHTRIBE side.FAM -Reach for the Top- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


ENLIGHTRIBE side.FAM -Reach for the Top- is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

REVIEW OVERVIEW

衝動
Biting Back

SUMMARY

The ENLIGHTRIBE franchise changes things up for FAM's 2nd CD, introducing all band members to the vocals however, it was pulled off clumsily. Chants drag for too long, not adding anything to the songs which is unfortunate. The performances as well got a bit weaker in comparison with the band's debut CD which arrives as a surprise. There is plenty of experimentation going on in the vocal end, interesting ideas with the instrumentals however “Reach for the Top” doesn’t really quite make it, it gets stuck mid-way through.
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 | FAM "Reach for the Top"The ENLIGHTRIBE franchise changes things up for FAM's 2nd CD, introducing all band members to the vocals however, it was pulled off clumsily. Chants drag for too long, not adding anything to the songs which is unfortunate. The performances as well got a bit weaker in comparison with the band's debut CD which arrives as a surprise. There is plenty of experimentation going on in the vocal end, interesting ideas with the instrumentals however “Reach for the Top” doesn’t really quite make it, it gets stuck mid-way through.