Review | Rikka and Eichi “Neo X Lied Series vol.3”

SolidS QUELL Neo X Lied series

Rikka and Eichi color the Neo X Lied series with their unique matchup and ethereal sound in “Iris”.

Title: SQ「Neo X Lied」Series vol.3
Label: Movic
Release date: 26/02/2021
Genre: Minimalistic Electronica

Tracklist:

1 - DRAMA「支えていくもの」
2 - アイリス
3 - アイリス -off vocal-

Track analysis:

1- アイリス (Iris)

Retro synth stabs and a groovy bass line slowly set the tone for “Iris”, song that irradiates warmth and good vibes.

The verses are simple, making good use of a punchy bass line and minimalistic synths to create a soft and, in a way, dreamy, summery soundscape.

The chorus isn’t that different as in, simplicity is still key.

The chorus changes dynamics ever so slightly, bringing piano melodies to the spotlight, whereas a soft choir track is put in the background, enhancing the delicate and ethereal vibe of this song.

This part of the song shines because of that mix. It is tasteful, in no way overcrowded, leaving more than enough space available for the outstanding performance Natsuki Hanae and Koutaro Nishiyama deliver.

With such a rock-solid backdrop, all that was left for the vocals was to add the final touches to “Iris”.

However, Natsuki Hanae and Koutaro Nishiyama went the extra mile. Their performance is a hybrid of singing and rapping, with rap parts being kept to the minimum and locked to the pre-chorus only.

The verses were tackled with a gentleness, with Hanae and Nishiyama delivering a whispery performance that almost lullabies the listener.

When the chorus arrived, that’s when my jaw dropped. Their harmonies are too good, with both singers at the same level. Hard work pays off and, for Nishiyama, it certainly is the case.

Not only he performed on top of his game but he also matched Hanae’s high level of singing – and fit well with his unique singing tone -, in what is one of his best performances as a member of QUELL.

Still, if you are familiar with SolidS and, particularly, Natsuki Hanae as a singer in whatever 2D group he’s a part of, you know that it really isn’t a performance of his if he doesn’t show off (this is actually a cool quirk about him as a singer that has, with time, carried over to the characters he performs as).

When the outro and, especially, the last chorus kicks in, Natsuki Hanae nudges past Nishiyama and goes off to deliver not only his trademark ethereal falsetto, but also has a go at vibrato, playing around with both to create tasteful flourishes that, at times, will make your jaw drop.

All in all, “Irisis a song that irradiates warmth and gentleness, benefiting from having on the vocals, two of the most delicate singers within the SQ side of the TSUKIPRO franchise.

Natsuki Hanae and Koutaro Nishiyama weren’t shy about delivering a memorable performance in this ethereal song with a slight touch of 90s pop.

To listen again and again.


SQ「Neo X Lied」Series vol.3 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

SQ "Neo X Lied" / Rikka Sera (Natsuki Hanae), Eichi Horimiya (Kotaro Nishiyama)
Rikka Sera (Natsuki Hanae), Eichi Horimiya (Kotaro Nishiyama)
REVIEW OVERVIEW
アイリス
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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