SOARA’s mature and nostalgic take on their trademark pop-rock sound shines in “HEART“.
For the CARDS series, card suits – Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades – are split within each unit series: ALIVE (SOARA, Growth) and SQ (SolidS and QUELL). Each group in a unit series will be in charge of two card suits. The themes explored in each release are closely related to playing cards.
Title: ALIVE ｢CARDS｣ Series Volume 3 SOARA ｢HEART｣ Label: Tsukipro/Movic Release date: 28/05/2021 Genre: Pop-Rock
1 - ハートライン 2 - 心気楼 3 - ハートライン -off vocal- 4 - 心気楼 -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
1 – ハートライン
SOARA kick off this single with a beautiful soundscape created for their fans.
A beautiful piano melody paints a hopeful soundscape as a marching beat adds some tension to this tune.
At the same time, the bass is warm, boosting the impact of the drums by enhancing its kick.
The guitars still have SOARA’s trademark youthful vibe underneath however their presentation is now mature, with the melodies sounding more planned and carefully laid out, something that, for a song like “Heart Line”, almost trailing ballad territory, cranks the emotions in it.
The guitar solo in the outro will make you goosebumps, especially if you’re invested in the whole vibe in this song.
As far as vocal performances go, SOARA delivers quite a unique performance filled with high notes, falsetto, and a whole lot of emotional range in showcase.
The band doesn’t have many quiet, deliberately emotional songs like this one so it felt refreshing to have all members putting a lot of focus on fleshing out those emotions.
The result is this awesome performance that will be certain to warm you up and put a smile on your face. Awesome teamwork.
2 – 心気楼
Wrapping up this single is “Shinkirou”, song that completely changes gears in this single. The guitars are shredding, the drums introspective yet intense, the bass is punchy while the synths add a nostalgic touch to this song.
The verses have a laidback vibe to them, something I was not expecting when the first riveting beat first made its entrance.
I am particularly fond of those bassy synths hovering and fading in and out of the instrumental.
It adds another spatial dimension to this song.
The chorus is simple, putting the focus on the vocals and, believe it or not, this is a song in which SOARA go the technical route for their performance.
The members are performing in canon, there are some tackling vibrato, others in the high notes and falsetto and a whole lot of ad-libs.
The scale for this song is also much higher than usual which is interesting as this song seems to have Makoto Furukawa in the spotlight – and he’s singer better known for his mid and low tones -. Furukawa, Toyonaga and Ono absolutely steal the spotlight in this song.
If you listen to their performances throughout, you’ll think that they barely stand out. And that’s because Chiharu Sawashiro and Taishi Murata are doing an awesome job on their side.
However, when the outro kicks in, Furukawa, Toyonaga and Ono absolutely own this song.
Their ad-libs will catchy you off guard, their vocals riffing, the falsetto, it seems that they decided to save the best for last and it was unexpected yet, a nice touch to this riveting song.
SOARA’s second and last entry in the CARDS CD series in the TSUKIPRO franchise is one overflowing with passion, explored in completely different ways for both tracks.
“Heart Line” brings to the spotlight sweet melodies and a warmth that goes far beyond what SOARA has used their fans to.
The strings gave a grandiose touch to their pop-rock sound while the deep bassline gave a grounded touch to this song, a nice touch that perfectly helps illustrating how much SOARA has matured as a band.
The vocals in this song are emotional, with everyone contributing with their best to a memorable performance riding on a lot of vibrato and falsetto as a group.
The single wraps up with “Shinkirou”, song that has a massive bassline – something noticeable right at the start – and awesome work on the guitars side.
The hovering effect going on in those in the first part of the verses gives a completely new touch to SOARA’s sound.
It is refreshing as well as nice contrast to the bass-heavy instrumental.
The vocals are quite interesting.
While we have a solid lines distribution, Makoto Furukawa comes from behind to the spotlight and, to top it all off, in the bridge, the band delivers vocals that draw inspiration from Growth’s performances.
That focus on harmony and drama was a unique touch to the song and gave a look into the band’s versatility in the vocal end and what can await us all in next songs of theirs.
In “HEART”, there is still SOARA’s youthful vibe however instead of it coming from their perspective as youths, it now comes from nostalgia, a result of maturing and growing as a group as well as individuals.
This is heartwarming to listen to and notice all those feelings in this single – especially noticeable in “Heart Line”.
All around solid performances – with quite a few surprises here and there in terms of progressions and vocals directions – and 2 refreshing yet on-brand instrumentals and SOARA pulled off an awesome entry in the CARDS series.
ALIVE ｢CARDS｣ Series Volume 3 SOARA ｢HEART｣ is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.