Review | Loulou*di “MONO”

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Loulou*di”s “MONO” is a scream in the middle of a bleak world. A cry for help. A courageous step towards a new beginning. It is spine-chilling.

What is Hana-Doll*?

Hana-Doll* is an idol project created by movic (TSUKIPRO, VAZZROCK, Tsukiuta, etc).

The franchise includes Anthos*, group comprised of Kent Ito, Wataru Komada, Toshiki Masuda, Shunichi Toki, Daiki Hamano, Seiichiro Yamashita, and Shun Horie.

Loulou*di consists of Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Shunsuke Takeuchi, and Daiki Yamashita.


Title: THINK OF ME: MONO
Release date: 16/09/2022
Label: Movic
Genre: Orchestral/Industrial/Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - Project Archive: L 3-1
2 - Project Archive: L 3-2
3 - Project Archive: L 3-3
4 - Project Archive: L 3-4
5 - Project Archive: L 3-5
6 - Intro: MONO
7 - Perfect Pride
8 - Abortive Flower

Track by track analysis:

6 – Intro: MONO

Distorted percussion, glitchy synths, a distant forlorn choir, and atmospheric synths create an eerie, dreamy soundscape. Slowly, beautiful piano melodies and drone melodies complete the soundscape in front of you. Distorted guitar riffs glitch through the instrumental. It is dark and distant.

It is cold yet inviting to your curiosity.

7 – Perfect Pride

A clock continues ticking in the background as a wordless choir adds an eerie twist to the instrumental of “Perfect Pride”. 

The verses are quite upbeat, bringing rock elements to the spotlight through the pounding live drums and acoustic guitars. Slowly, a piano runs into the scene performing beautiful arpeggios in the background.

It is worth mentioning that the song’s verses are not the same between each other. The first one is quiet, glitching for the first half, then fully embracing a warm live band sound.

The second verse brings a sweet, minimalistic acoustic sound to the spotlight for the first half before resuming the band sound, however, now with quite more pace to itself, at least on the hi-hats.

A sitar melody joins in the pre-chorus and chorus, adding a mystical, almost baroque layer to this track. Timpani arrived to complement the choir, giving depth to this performance while heightening the tension in the instrumental.

Vocally, “Perfect Pride” is insanely technical. From the ad-libs in the intermission between the 1st chorus and the 2nd verses, down to the lyrical twist given to their performances or even the high notes with vibrato as the finishing touch, the group faces a big challenge and yet… pulls off this performance stellarly.

8 – Abortive Flower

The clock continues to tick. Legato strings enter the scene, fading away from your sight. A somber piano melody further fleshes out this solemn instrumental.

“Abortive Flower” feels like the end. A goodbye. It is emotional yet empty. It is delicate on the vocal end, almost like a lullaby.

The second verse brings in a pounding bass percussion and harp melodies, adding a bit of depth to this mournful song.

When you get to the chorus, you’re immediately struck by all those emotions going on in the vocals. As that snare hit enters, it’s as if your feelings are being hit. Whatever you’re doing as you listen to this song, you will stop doing it.

As far as vocals go, “Abortive Flower” is mindblowing. The keyword for this performance is “emotion” and all members cranked up those in the way they delivered their lines. You feel the weight. You mourn alongside them. You feel touched.

Aside from the clean, technical vocals in the verses, you’ll find yourself surrounded by unclear lines recited by Shunsuke Takeuchi and Daiki Yamashita in the bridge. 

It is as if you’re battling voices in your head, slowly going mad before deciding to put an end to them. To everything. To you.

It is visceral. The feelings you get from this song are… visceral.

And pay close attention to Toshiyuki Toyonaga’s vocals during the bridge. This is when the “goodbye” concept in this song is fleshed out. Toyonaga’s vocals scream, cry. You can feel the emotions pouring out and Toyonaga is on the verge of tears for this performance during this part.

It is haunting.

It is fragile.

It is beautiful.

Trombone and tuba join in the instrumental in the outro, bidding you goodbye. Leaving you in a state of… nothingness. 


Final considerations

Loulou*di continues to be in a league of its own. 

“MONO” is how the world is seen in the 2 songs (+ 1 instrumental) that are a part of it. It is bleak, unclear, and haunting. At times there is a mystery but there is something more going on underneath.

There are some interesting details going on in this release. 

The clock motif that was the guiding force behind “Pensée” is present in the intro song, adding a sense of urgency as well as a conducting thread between releases – the first time the group does this.

At the same time, the piano melody in “Black Pulse” is featured in the background of the instrumental track “Intro: MONO”.

These two details struck me as interesting as it is not only 1 but 2 nods to a previous release which prompts me to conclude that “MONO” may be a continuation of the tale in “Pensée”, a bleak ending of that tale.

Perfect Pride” is a long song – over 5 minutes – that turns into an epic track mid-way through, going fully lyrical in the chorus, something that ends up carrying over for the rest of the performance. 

The first part of the performance has a completely different vibe from the 2nd part onwards. It is more upbeat yet mysterious. 

After the first chorus, tension cranks up, a harpsichord joins the stage and, all of a sudden, the tone is somber yet there is no mystery in the track. Everything is clear in front of you.

Interestingly enough, this is one of the simplest songs that Loulou*di has presented, at least instrumental-wise. As far as the vocals go, they are insanely technical in their harmonies, unisons, and high notes in solo parts.

Abortive Flower” is a beautifully haunting song, however… It is a song that I do not recommend listening to if you are feeling emotionally fragile. 

It is dark, and empty. It reeks of death.

The tone is that of a goodbye and of meeting one’s ending. It is as if Loulou*di’s members are bidding goodbye to you, something hinted at by how emotional Toshiyuki Toyonaga and even Daiki Yamashita get closer to the end of the song. 

If you are too invested in this performance, you’ll, for sure, find yourself crying. This song hits like a truck and it’s not because of the instrumental. It’s the vocals.

While Loulou*di has released another masterful release, I feel like its technicality, unique sound, and insanely bleak tone will, unfortunately, not attract many people to it. 

With that being said, if you read this review up until here, I thoroughly welcome you to stop everything for 15 minutes and take the time to immerse yourself in the story being told by Loulou*di (but prepare tissues).

“MONO” is a scream in the middle of a bleak world. A cry for help. A courageous step towards a new beginning.

It is an outstanding single.


THINK OF ME: MONO is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


MONO” is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Perfect Pride
Abortive Flower

SUMMARY

“MONO” is how the world is seen in the 2 songs (+ 1 instrumental) that are a part of it. It is bleak, unclear, and haunting. At times there is a mystery but there is something more going on underneath. “MONO” may be a continuation of the tale in “Pensée”, a bleak ending of that tale. The addition of elements or nods to previously released songs in the intro as well as in "Perfect Pride" does hint at that. When you talk about the best song in this CD it is, by far, "Abortive Flower". Plenty of times there is a talk about how a singer is or isn't emotional enough during a performance. At times, attempts to be emotional fall flat but with Loulou*di that is quite the opposite. The trio went for an extremely emotional performance that will, for sure, make you cry or - if you're not the type to cry - to feel moved. While Loulou*di has released another masterful song, I feel like its technicality, unique sound, and insanely bleak tone will, unfortunately, not attract many people to it.  “MONO” is a scream in the middle of a bleak world. A cry for help. A courageous step towards a new beginning. It is beautiful.
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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“MONO” is how the world is seen in the 2 songs (+ 1 instrumental) that are a part of it. It is bleak, unclear, and haunting. At times there is a mystery but there is something more going on underneath. “MONO” may be a continuation of the tale in “Pensée”, a bleak ending of that tale. The addition of elements or nods to previously released songs in the intro as well as in "Perfect Pride" does hint at that. When you talk about the best song in this CD it is, by far, "Abortive Flower". Plenty of times there is a talk about how a singer is or isn't emotional enough during a performance. At times, attempts to be emotional fall flat but with Loulou*di that is quite the opposite. The trio went for an extremely emotional performance that will, for sure, make you cry or - if you're not the type to cry - to feel moved. While Loulou*di has released another masterful song, I feel like its technicality, unique sound, and insanely bleak tone will, unfortunately, not attract many people to it.  “MONO” is a scream in the middle of a bleak world. A cry for help. A courageous step towards a new beginning. It is beautiful.Review | Loulou*di "MONO"