Review | Makoto Furukawa “ROOM Of No Name”

ROOM Of No Name” is a bold, confident mini-album by an unshackled Makoto Furukawa, now free from the restrictive nature of anisong music.

Regular
Title: ROOM Of No Name
Release date: 17/11/2021
Label: Lantis
Genre: Funk/Disco/Jazz/R&B/Rock

Tracklist:

1 - Forsaken kiss
2 - 灰硝子 
3 - 揺籠とクローバー 
4 - 夕凪を連れて 
5 - Craving

Track by track analysis:

1 – Forsaken kiss

Makoto Furukawa opens up this mini-album with an ambitious, sexy song, entirely performed in English.

Forsaken kiss” brings an elegant jazzy sound mixed with funky guitar riffs, a danceable beat, and a groovy slap bassline, taking Furukawa’s sound to a different level.

Disco influences are going on in the chorus, with the synth lead fully embracing an old-school sound. At the same time, the piano serves as a beautiful contrast, bringing in the delicate touch of jazz to this song.

The chorus is insanely catchy, with a minimalistic beat setting the tone, slowly giving way to the punchy bassline to take over from there and spread its suggestive vibes.

On the vocal end, Makoto Furukawa decided to challenge himself.

This song is entirely performed in English and there are tempo changes not to mention, sections that are a mouthful to tackle. And, of course, the first thing you’ll notice is that the English pronunciation is far from being “clear”, yet you got to give it to Furukawa, as he challenged himself to perform a full song in a language he’s not comfortable with.

When his parts were slow-paced – for example, the pre-chorus and the chorus itself – the English pronunciation is actually fairly easy to understand even if a bit slurred at times. The verses, however, due to how fast they are, proved to be more challenging than expected. This isn’t something that detracts from my enjoyment, especially as he could have easily performed this song in Japanese yet he chose to have his lyrics translated and performed in English to cater to his international fans.

However, what is worth noting is that, in previous attempts to perform in English, for example in the DIG-ROCK franchise, Furukawa barely sounded comfortable performing the parts in English yet, in this song the English lyrics didn’t take any charisma away from him.

He was riffing, adding a lot of vibrato to his performance, lowering those notes and whispering parts. He sounds comfortable which is a massive upgrade in my books.

Feel good song with a sexy vibe in what is Furukawa’s very first attempt to cater to his international fans.

2 – 灰硝子

Hai Glass” introduces the listener to a playful brand of jazz-rock in which acoustic guitars share the stage with a saxophone, fancy piano melodies, and cheeky guitar melodies.

The verses are melodic, focused on a bassy sound, with the bassline going really deep as the drums tackle tricky rhythms, enriching the background for this song. The soundscape is that of a jazz club wit

The song features two solos, a guitar and a saxophone one. Both had to be brief to fit the song but they sound so elegant, overflowing with emotion.

This is a good old track in the style Furukawa has used us to.

Fast, fun, overflowing with emotion, playful yet extremely alluring. And on top is his elegant performance, tackling each part with charisma that shines. Actually, it shows in his voice when screams those notes in the chorus after an intense part of mid-to-low notes. There’s a certain confidence going on in the way he performs this song.

3 – 揺籠とクローバー

Yurikago to Clover” tones everything down, leaving a dramatic piano on stage, slowly being complemented by string swells and what awaits us is… an emotional R&B song.

Are you reading it well? Yes, Makoto Furukawa challenges himself in a beautiful R&B ballad with a festive touch to them.

The verses feature a groovy beat in which triplets are accentuated to contrast with the delicate strings and piano in the background. The tone is still dramatic coming from the piano even if the rest of the song does give off a brighter vibe. That contrast is quite interesting to find, making you go over the lyrics to find any underlying meanings going on.

The song flows smoothly into the chorus, with only Makoto Furukawa’s vocals heightening the drama, bringing a lot of emotion to the song.

As far as vocal performances go, Makoto Furukawa found himself performing R&B for the very first time as a solo artist. His growly baritone vocals fit this genre, not to mention he does have control over his performances, being able to adjust his output of emotion fairly easily.

Fantastic first attempt at a music genre I never expected him to tackle.

4 – 夕凪を連れて

Yuunagi o tsurete” embraces an emo-rock sound, with overdriven guitars adding melancholy right off the bat.

The verses have simple guitar riffs split into 2 different parts, distant ones on your right and raw, rough ones on your left however, as you get closer to the chorus, both come together to crank up that melancholic and sadness going on in the instrumental.

The chorus is intense, with those pent-up emotions overflowing in an emotional display from Makoto Furukawa, betting more on lowering his tone and not relying as much on his vibrato to impress.

Yes, this performance barely has vibrato, with Furukawa focusing instead on making his stripped-down, raw vocals do the job of impressing you. And truth is, he makes this performance sound easy when it is fairly tricky to tackle.

5 – Craving

And to complete this unique journey, Makoto Furukawa performs “Craving”, song with a fast-paced, robust rock sound.

The verses are intense, with shredding guitar riffs taking over the spotlight however, there is a good balance in this instrumental. Fast-paced, bright piano melodies paint the soundscape, adding a gentle layer on top of this powerful song.

The chorus is a blast to listen to. The guitars go loud, the drums are hard-hitting while the bassline punches its way through the instrumental. And the good thing is that all those instruments are clear.

Additionally, the song counts with a heavy bridge section, with the guitar going low and dark, reading itself up for a hyped-up solo that had me on the edge of my seat. I was left wanting more of that solo given how brief it was.

Furukawa is in his element for this song, fully embracing the high-octane rock sound leading the way and delivering a strong, confident performance overflowing with emotion.


Final considerations

Makoto Furukawa decided to unshackle himself and do something outside of the box yet still very on-brand with who he is as a solo artist.

Instead of a full-out jazz mini-album, Furukawa challenged himself with music genres he’s never performed before as a solo artist. And that’s how you have, a sexy jazz-meets-disco song, a full-on jazz track, R&B ballad, emo-rock, and a shredding rock tune.

All those music genres (or subgenres), well, aside from jazz, arrived as a surprise and I was impressed with how well he fared in all those attempts.

Forsaken kiss” is Furukawa’s try at a suggestive song. Let me correct this. It is an all-out suggestive song. This is not an attempt, it’s the real deal. Putting aside the whole deal about the English pronunciation, this is an impressive song with a refreshing and elegant sound.

It is nothing like what he’s done in the past. Yes, his sound is mature but was it sexy? Now, it is. From the crispy bassline to those fancy synths and the charismatic performance (in a foreign language, might I add!), Makoto Furukawa really went outside of what everyone thought was his comfort zone and showcased his talents.

For those still craving for Furukawa’s trademark jazz sound, “Hai Glass” will fill that need however don’t expect crazily fast-paced bebop jazz, this is a comfortable mid-tempo jazz tune. Classy, mature, and with a lot of quality both in the instrumental and vocals.

There’s even an R&B ballad in this song. This still hasn’t sunk in as I cool down writing this part of the review. Furukawa performing R&B music and being completely comfortable doing so?

Yurikago to Clover” is a stellar entry in Furukawa’s repertoire, another showcase of his versatility as a singer, able to adapt to a technical style of singing that requires a lot of riffing and control instead of his, usual, intense performances blasting vibrato.

Emo-rock and Furukawa is a combination I’ve wanted for a while so to find it in this mini-album was a pleasant surprise. And, as expected, he absolutely nailed the performance in “Yuunagi o tsurete”.

Add another seiyuu artist that nails emo-rock like it’s second nature to them.

And “Craving” goes all out with an intense rock sound that suits Furukawa’s vocals like a glove.

With “ROOM Of No Name”, Furukawa showcased his control, technique, and versatility as a singer, delivering unique – some unexpected – performances.

When the curtain closes and the show is over, all you’re left with is a want to listen to this mini-album again, let all the new things sink in, and discover new details with each additional listen.

ROOM Of No Name” is a bold, confident mini-album by an unshackled Makoto Furukawa, now free from the restrictive nature of anisong music. This freedom showed the best in him and made this mini-album a serious contender for album of the year.


ROOM Of No Name” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


ROOM Of No Name” is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

SUMMARY

“ROOM Of No Name” is a bold, confident mini-album by an unshackled Makoto Furukawa, now free from the restrictive nature of anisong music. And that confidence and charisma shows in the music genres chosen for this mini-album. Furukawa embraced disco/funk (or even nu-disco), jazz, R&B, and rock and delivered a set of impressive performances in which he got to flaunt his singing skills and hidden versatility as a singer. Working with a different composer within ARTE REFACT also helped him get outside of the box. And, as always, Furukawa's lyrics have the right measures of classy, intriguing, and unexpected going on, helping flesh out unique soundscapes. All in all, "ROOM Of No Name" is a strong candidate for album of the year. A must listen.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Forsaken kiss
灰硝子
揺籠とクローバー
夕凪を連れて
Craving
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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