Review | Lil Happy and FYA’M’ “aoppella 2”

Lil Happy and FYA’M’ crank up the bass parts in their groups to deliver two outstanding – and insanely groovy – tunes.

A brief introduction

aoppella!? “is KLab’s latest original multimedia music project built on the themes of “youth” and “a cappella”!

The project counts with 2 groups specialized in performing acappella music and representing 2 fictional schools: Otowa Public High School (Lil Happy) and Kanadezaka Private High School (FYA’M’).

For reference: Acappella music consists of group or solo performance without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way.

To get to know all there is about aoppella!?, check THTFHQ’s original feature on it.

Review

aoppella CD2
Title: アオペラ2
Label: Klab
Release date: 24/09/2021
Genre: Acappella

Tracklist (regular edition):

1 - キセキノウタ
2 - Come on up, Baby
3-4 - 都立音和高校文化祭開催!(drama tracks)

Track by track analysis:

1 – Kiseki no Uta

Lil Happy kicks off this CD with the beautiful “Kiseki no Uta”.

Right off the bat, the group impresses with their high notes and contrabass percussion, this one courtesy of Tomoaki Maeno.

The tone is warm with some shades of youthful excitement noticeable in the performance in the verses.

The canon parts in the verses give a delicate, almost ethereal touch to the performance, with a lower key than the vocals taking the stage one by one.

The chorus is sweet and slow-paced focused on the raw emotions in the vocals of Ryota Osaka, Ryohei Kimura, Tetsuya Kakihara, and KENN.

It is worth mentioning that Tomoaki Maeno has a really neat solo part, leaving percussion behind – as the resident bass singer – however, never forgot to blast those robust low notes as he stylishly tackles his part.

2 – Come on up, baby

A booming bassline and a groovy beatbox beat shine in the groovy intro to “Come on up, baby”.

One thing that will instantly stand out is how, with vocals-only, you have a bass, groovy beat, and vocals that resemble a strings section in the verses. The group’s tenors – Toshiyuki Toyonaga and Wataru Urata – did an awesome job sounding like a chamber strings section.

In the individual parts, you’ll find a singer taking the spotlight and, in the background, a heavily contrasting voice tone will complement it.

The best example of that – and a mix I wasn’t expecting I needed to hear at least once in my life – is Takuya Sato (bass) and Toshiyuki Toyonaga (tenor) in contrast. That part takes the cake for me.

This is really a strong presentation right off the bat and I absolutely love it. The tempo is slow and melodic, giving way to the R&B-inspired vocals to take center stage and absolutely dazzle you.

The chorus is insanely groovy and catchy, sounding more stripped down than the verses but the focus on the bass sound is an absolute delight to listen to.

This time around you’ll find interesting details going on, the best example being the whistles working in contrast with the punchy bassline in the chorus. It was unexpected but the perfect accent the song needed to let that tension in the chorus tone down a bit.


Final considerations:

Aoppella?!’s groups continue to show their cards and improve with each release.

In “aoppella?! 2”, listeners find those groups that are maturing at quite the high speed while showcasing their versatility or, alternatively, just how good they are at a specific vibe.

Lil Happy has an upbeat and youthful sound that this time around got an interesting twist by going “traditional” in their presentation.

Kiseki no Uta” sounds like an old-school acappella style of performance, genuinely different in vibe, delivery, and overall feel in comparison to their debut song.

The group’s performance is really good, with listeners getting not only a taste of their powerful tenor-line (basically all singers but Kakihara and Maeno are tenors) but also – and this was a big surprise – their lower range got to shine, with all members lowering their tone for the background canons in the verses and with Tomoaki Maeno adding an extra punch of bass goodness to the track.

Groovy beat, sweet vocals, beautiful high notes, and perfect harmonies and canons are just a glimpse of what this group can deliver and the fact that listeners get to listen to a different side to their performances adds excitement for what they’ll release next.

This is Lil Happy’s best performance to date, extremely complete and groovy while still retaining their identity.

FYA’M’ didn’t change much about its presentation and sound and this is a big reason why this CD is so good.

This group has an R&B-inspired style of performance that, with their strong bass and percussion section, can shine time and time again.

To listen to them sticking to their style of performance giving off that slightly playfully, slightly alluring vibe, that was already present in their debut single, is a delight to listen to.

For “Come on up, baby”, listeners can expect a lot of bass. That’s at center stage, all singers perform around it but it never ever leaves the stage. Due to that, the performance gives off an extremely warm vibe on top of all that groove.

Once again, it’s worth pointing out how impressive Daiki Hamano (bass) and Shugo Nakamura (beatbox/percussion) are. They are the heart of FYA’M’, making it beat with an infectious groove while keeping things pretty elegant.

But overall, all members delivered a honeyed elegant performance and were everywhere – harmonies, canons, backing vocals, you name it -, you could really notice the dynamic and versatility of this group’s members with this performance.

All in all, “aoppella?!2” is an outstanding addition to the franchise’s repertoire, one that showcases fast growth and increasing chemistry in both groups not to mention one that adds 2 incredibly punchy songs with a danceable twist.

 As a result, I can’t help but want to listen to more and more of Lil Happy and FYA’M’.


aoppella 2” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

aoppella!? 2 / aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)
aoppella!? 2 / aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)
aoppella!? 2 / aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)

aoppella 2” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support the aoppella?! franchise by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

“aoppella?!2” is an outstanding addition to the franchise’s repertoire, one that showcases fast growth and increasing chemistry in both groups not to mention one that adds 2 incredibly punchy songs with a danceable twist.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

キセキノウタ
Come on up, baby
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, 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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