Loulou*di takes you on a sorrowful yet beautiful journey through their unique world and stories in “DÉJÀ VU“.
Title: THINK OF ME: DÉJÀ VU Release date: 22/12/2023 Label: AIЯRIDE RECORDS. / Movic Genre: Lyrical pop/Orchestral/Minimalistic EDM/R&B
1 - Project Archive: L 3-16
2 - Project Archive: L 3-17
3 - Project Archive: L 3-18
4 - Project Archive: L 3-19
5 - Project Archive: L 3-20
6 - Intro: DÉJÀ VU
7 - Invisible Cross
8 - Another Liar
Track by track analysis:
6 – Intro: DÉJÀ VU
A piano melody plays in the background, distorted and with noise on top. It’s as if the record is broken, playing the remnants of its contents for us.
In the background, what appears to be vocals playing in reverse add a layer of eerieness to this intro to DÉJÀ VU. An overdriven guitar joins in as the clock continues to tick.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The stage is set.
7 – Invisible Cross
“Invisible Cross” arrives to make you cry to no end. Legato strings and orchestral drums set the tone, populating the soundscape around you. Those open the doors to this performance but soon after, the verses quiet down.
A harp, acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and shuffle-like drums create a comfortable yet delicate backdrop to the performance unveiling in front of you.
This song feels like the end of something. Beauty and darkness yet again are intertwined however with the darkness being less obvious this time around.
At its core, “Invisible Cross” is a solemn and dramatic song. The sense of hopelessness is subtle but present. But let’s not deny just how beautiful it also sounds because there is beauty in darkness and Loulou*di perfectly makes that shine.
Contrary to other songs of theirs, this one is quieter, slower-paced, and more delicate in the instruments chosen to be a part of this composition. This gentle side to Loulou*di’s music is rare to find
The build up to the chorus is impressive.
The drums stop.
A strings quartet takes over.
A cello leads the way.
And piano adds a layer of gentleness.
On top, Loulou*di’s vocals are in perfect unison – but easy to have clarity on each – as the drama intensifies for the chorus.
The chorus continues in a shuffle-like rhythm on the drums, breaking the mold regarding the percussion for Loulou*di’s songs.
The beat resembles a 4/6 time signature, adding a shuffle twist to the song. It feels like a shuffle, a waltz of some kind. It is a slow yet tragic dance in the beautiful soundscape around you.
But at the same time, that beat is what makes this song sound like it is slowly and steadily taking you somewhere.
Worth mentioning is the intermission and its beautiful vocals – with Toshiyuki Toyonaga ad-libbing on top of a powerful performance by Daiki Yamashita and Shunsuke Takeuchi.
And then the pre-bridge (or let’s call it 2nd intermission), with everything in the instrumental exploding, leaves quite the impression. The soundscape changes in front of you to, for a short time, unveil the destruction behind its delicate backdrop. It’s sorrowful and desolate, further enhancing that undertone you have been catching glimpses of since the start.
In this part, the tension rises through the strings as the vocals remain controlled for the most part until Toyonaga yet again raises his tone and goes for a beautiful head voice note that will make chills run down your spine.
And the bridge! The bridge’s acoustic guitar is so, so good. It’s such a brief part but that was enough to serve as the tension reliever you needed. The catalyst to make you cry.
The vocals in this song are some of the best – if not the best – I’ve heard from the group. The emotional range and control in this performance are unbelievable.
The song wraps up with Toyonaga’s vocals as the drums and strings fade away.
What a ride. What a story. You will feel it in your bones.
8 – Another Liar
And wrapping up this album is “Another Liar“. The song arrives with a completely different sound.
Muffled and slightly distorted guitar licks play in the background as a hi-hat and bass drum beat slowly play in the background, adding a beating heart to this song.
The song feels like a dream as every element echoes in the background, guitars are reverbed, the bass is deep and heavy and the drums are washy. The more you focus on the soundscape around you, the more it feels otherworldly. You can’t make up shapes, places, or anything else.
It’s just a dreamy yet black voice that mixes desire and betrayal all in the same place. The “desire” can be felt in the R&B style of singing and the warmth in the beat and bassline – obvious in the chorus.
But on the other end of the spectrum you have “betrayal”. And that can be felt by the muffled instruments, almost feeling like remnants of something, a memory only.
The instrumental betrays words time and time again in this song.
A nice detail in the composition arrives in the bridge. There you will find an 808 drum machine adding an old-school touch to the beat while it takes it to a broken part of the instrumental yet again signaling you that this is a dream not reality.
When it comes to the vocals are yet again amazing. The group performs in unison in the chorus but it is a thing of beauty that they pull off in there. All voices are clear and clean, their flair and emotional range are off the charts as they go for falsetto, harmonies, and low tones in there.
“Another Liar” wraps up this album in the best way possible.
It is surreal that Loulou*di continuously improves upon their previous work time and time again. But at the same time, this is what makes them one of the best 2D groups out there.
Just when you think you’ve seen or heard everything new about them, they arrive with something refreshing yet again. Loulou*di are no strangers to creating unique soundscapes – akin to nightmares but with a layer of beauty to them – and deliver performances that will have you talking about them for days.
In “DÉJÀ VU”, the group outdoes itself yet again. This is a release that, in comparison to previous ones – and without checking the drama tracks – is brighter in comparison with the pure darkness of “ARK” or “NOTHING”. This brightness however is only apparent.
Words contradict instrumentals, there are underlying tones going on, especially in “Invisible Cross”, that hint at destruction and sorrow, and “Another Liar” may seem like an interesting iteration to R&B but it is still quite dark.
Darkness, beautiful darkness is something that Loulou*di has excelled in and continues to show their cards in.
“Invisible Cross” is there to make you cry, cry, and cry to no end. If you thought that “Dying Matter” was sad, you’ll need to have your feelings in check for this one. This song is sorrowful and beautiful but masks darkness and, in some way, a loss that is not obvious but the vocals perfectly illustrate.
“Another Liar” is an interesting take on the group’s debut minimalistic electronica sound while adding R&B in there – even if subtly – and it sounds amazing. It is dream-like – but like any dreamy soundscape created by the group, there is darkness slowly taking over you as the song progresses. I love this different take on their music and as you can tell, not only does it fit their vocals but also the concept in this release.
When you listen to this album, you will have an uncanny feeling of having listened to these stories and feelings before however, you never did. Loulou*di did hint at previous songs, from the lyrics down to the singing styles and instrumental hits and bits in the background, to create that sense of “DÈJÁ VU” but, by the end of it all, this dream was something completely novel.
It was and is majestic and unique. This is the best Loulou*di has released so far.
What is Hana-Doll*?
Hana-Doll* is an idol project created by movic (TSUKIPRO, VAZZROCK, Tsukiuta, etc).
The franchise includes Anthos*, features vocals by Kent Ito, Wataru Komada, Toshiki Masuda, Shunichi Toki, Daiki Hamano, Seiichiro Yamashita, and Shun Horie.
DÉJÀ VU is unavailable for purchase at CDJAPAN. However, you can purchase it through Amazon Japan (they ship internationally).
“DÉJÀ VU” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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