Review | LUMIÈRE “Pole Position”

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RE-O-DO kicks off Dear Vocalist’s UNLIMITED CD series with a rock-solid sound and mature presentation.

The Dear Vocalist cast counts with RE-O-DO (Toshiki Masuda), Joshua (Nobunaga Shimazaki), Judah (Soma Saito), A’ (Ryohei Kimura), Momochi (Toshiyuki Toyonaga), and (2)YOU (Natsuki Hanae).


Title: Dear Vocalist Unlimited Entry No.1 LUMIERE
Label: Rejet
Release date: 25/05/2022
Genre: Punk-pop / Jazz-rock

Tracklist (DISC 1):

1 - PP(Pole Position)
2 - 片翼
3 - MINETTE [DRAMA TRACK]
4 - Remember… [DRAMA TRACK]
5 - ma chérie [DRAMA TRACK]

Track by track analysis:

1 – PP(Pole Position)

RE-O-DO kicks off the UNLIMITED CD series with “PP“.

As the engine revs, guitars take over, bringing excitement to this pop-rock tune.

Despite the high tension in the intro, the verses ride on a comfortable mid-tempo, with the guitar, bass, and drums carefully trailing their way.

As the song gets closer to the chorus, a piano kicks in, adding beautiful runs as a detail to this track. At the same time, the drums pick up the pace and start to fully embrace their punk-rock influences.

The chorus is fairly simple yet hyped up enough for you to want to sing along to it. Guitars scream in the background as Toshiki Masuda smoothly and steadily tackles this song.

There is some focus on the cinematic quality of this song, noticeable in the intro and bridge in which you’re either seeing a car go past you or you take off in it.

As far as the performances go, Toshiki Masuda is the most comfortable and steady ever. He never waves, the energy is constant, and his vibrato makes an appearance, pairing up with breathy sections in his performance. This comfort on the vocal end makes the performance as a whole sound more gripping.

As a whole, “PP” brings a decent amount of excitement to the spotlight, opening this CD in a cool way.

2 – 片翼

Things change drastically for “Hennyoku“. The tone is intimate, and the vibe is loungy.

This song is all about its warm bassline, leading the way for the track. There are hints of jazz and funk in this song, a setting that, despite not being a first time for RE-O-DO, it’s always a treat to find in his repertoire.

The verses are all about their relaxing vibe, with atmospheric synths in the background, Rhodes accents, and that punchy bassline creating the brunt of this fancy tune.

The chorus brings in brass, the guitars are funky as you can get and the drums have a smooth snare leading the way. This is a brief yet addictive chorus that fleshes out all the elegance going on in the verses, adding a “RE-O-DO touch” to it.

Listeners can expect a solo in the Rhodes piano, spreading the carpet for yet another elegant pre-chorus and chorus combo.

In the outro, the guitar shifts from its funky style to jazz, wrapping up this song on a fancy note.

On the vocal end, Toshiki Masuda doesn’t change much about his performance, at least it’s not easily noticeable. He’s got more air going on in this performance, something that adds a mature twist to this song while not dramatically changing its flow.

Rock-solid performance and a surprisingly catchy, elegant tune wrap up this CD in the best way you could imagine.

Final considerations

The Dear Vocalist franchise is back for its 7th season of drama + music CDs.

The “UNLIMITED” CD series promises to up the stakes for all bands and vocalists and it seems that fans will be in for a treat, especially after RE-O-DO kicked off this series with a strong CD.

PP” or “Pole Position” is kind of a misleading song, at least title-wise. I was expecting a high tension, high stakes, and exciting tune but the interpretation given to the whole concept was more on the lyrics side than on the instrumental itself.

Still, “PPis all about its exciting punk-pop sound, setting the tone for the whole CD.

Hennyoku” arrived as a pleasant surprise, adding a mature twist to this CD by bringing in a polished mix of jazz and funk (with ska influences). Its downtempo and elegant sound will catch your attention in no time (especially that Rhodes piano solo).

On the vocal end, Toshiki Masuda did improve a whole lot. Perhaps this was due to the songs not being as demanding vocally as in previous seasons but it seems more to me that this consistency and comfort are a result of Masuda’s experience as a solo artist.

He’s been pushing his vocals a whole lot as of late, bringing in new things or adding little details that give a stylish touch to his performances. Vibrato is smoothly painting the soundscape, Masuda’s breathy style of singing is a new thing and the energy was crazy consistent throughout.

One thing that all Dear Vocalist CDs have is consistency between leading and b-side tracks. That is a quirk in the franchise that R.O.N has made sure to bring every time there is a new season.

Re-o-do has a leading track in his original punk-pop style with “PP” and the b-side “Hennyoku” brings in jazz, funk, and ska in a way.

If the trend continues, fans can expect this to happen for all CDs in this season, a song in the Vocalist’s original sound + a b-side track that highlights something new about the vocalist (sound, lyrics, or even relationship-wise) that may not be necessarily a jazz tune.

All in all, Re-o-do’s “PP” is a solid entry that sets a mature tone for the UNLIMITED CD series.


Dear Vocalist Unlimited Entry No.1 LUMIERE” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

PP
片翼

SUMMARY

Excitement and maturity go hand-in-hand in RE-O-DO (or should I say, LUMIÈRE)'s "PP". This is a CD that looks back to the vocalist's original sound, upgrades it to reflect his growth, and then throws in a mature tune that reflects the "now" of that vocalist. I found this dynamic between "PP" and "Hennyoku" to be quite charming, possibly setting a precedent for all other entries in this CD series. The vast improvements on the vocal end by Toshiki Masuda are noticeable with both his technique - bringing in a steady, natural-sounding vibrato and even breathy style of singing - and consistency shining. Past and present are in perfect harmony in this CD, kicking off the UNLIMITED CD series in style.
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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Excitement and maturity go hand-in-hand in RE-O-DO (or should I say, LUMIÈRE)'s "PP". This is a CD that looks back to the vocalist's original sound, upgrades it to reflect his growth, and then throws in a mature tune that reflects the "now" of that vocalist. I found this dynamic between "PP" and "Hennyoku" to be quite charming, possibly setting a precedent for all other entries in this CD series. The vast improvements on the vocal end by Toshiki Masuda are noticeable with both his technique - bringing in a steady, natural-sounding vibrato and even breathy style of singing - and consistency shining. Past and present are in perfect harmony in this CD, kicking off the UNLIMITED CD series in style.Review | LUMIÈRE "Pole Position"