Review | SolidS “SPADE”

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“SPADE” is an almost perfect marriage between SolidS’ original passionate, fiery rock sound with their new, matured vibe and jazz sound.

Title: SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 4 SolidS 「SPADE」
Label: Tsukipro/Movic 
Release date: 25/02/2022
Genre: Industrial rock/Jazz

Tracklist:

1 - Awesome♛Again
2 - & Night Trap
3 - Awesome♛Again -off vocal- 
4 - & Night Trap -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

1 – Awesome♛Again

Intense, snare-driven drums lead the way for “AwesomeAgain”. This song is all about its dirty rock sound, with overdriven, distorted guitar riffs taking care of the instrumental, with synths in the background.

The bassline is equally dirty, with a lot of distortion on top, conferring it an industrial rock twist that suits this group like a glove.

While the verses are slow-paced and dark – with a lot of groove on top -, the chorus changes dynamics and opens the soundscape, putting much of that distortion aside to give way to clean guitar riffs, bassline, and drums. This change in dynamics accompanies that of the vocals, going from muffled to clean in the chorus.

The chorus is quite intense and passionate with synths and rock elements clashing, much in line with what you may be used to by SolidS. This is really one of those songs intrinsically “SolidS”. A nice nod to their trademark sound while showcasing growth on the vocal end.

Speaking of vocals, this song has a pretty interesting performance on top, with a lot of legato going on.

For the verses, you can expect everyone to perform in their natural vocal ranges, only raising those when the time comes for the chorus. In that specific part, the tenors – Soma Saito and Natsuki Hanae – take over, leading the way in this passionate song.

You can expect that contrast of tenors vs baritones in that section, with the baritones – Takuya Eguchi and Yuichiro Umehara – complementing the performance, providing it a really deep core.

One thing that may put off some listeners is how the synths were used in this song.

Those are high-pitched and quite prominent in the chorus, being a bit much to deal with on a first listen. Another thing that I feel is unusual is how the chorus gets more repetitions than usual and the outro, while intense and will obviously work well in a live setting, ends up dragging a bit more than you’d like.

If you can go past those two points, this is a thoroughly enjoyable song to listen to however, if some of these things tick you off, this song may be far from impressive.

All in all, a good effort by the group, definitely a fantastic nod to the group’s trademark sound while keeping things interesting.

2 – & Night Trap

Wrapping up this single is “& Night Trap”, song that kicks off with pounding toms, opening the curtains to an elegant soundscape.

Now, this is a song in which you have that matured sound that SolidS has been exploring in the last couple of years. This, however, is the first time for the unit as Latin Jazz takes over.

Right off the bat, the syncopated rhythm of the contrabass and drums will have you jamming along, then you have a cheeky piano melody painting the dimly lit soundscape, spreading out the instruments in it, making you feel like you’re in a room and, on stage, SolidS is performing.

The verses are split into two parts. The first part is quiet, with the contrabass and piano leading the way in a comfortable tempo. Then, the second part cranks up the tension and brings in bright brass and punchy percussion, something that, alongside the contrabass, adds a massive bounce to this song.

The chorus is incredibly addictive, turning that elegant tone in the verses into a mysterious, slightly alluring vibe that you can’t get enough of.

Now, the bridge is pure goodness for fans of tricky runs on the piano played in jazz style, having quite the quick tempo to them. The drums get quite crazy with a fantastic fill leading up to the last chorus.

On the vocal end, “& Night Trap” is all about allure.

You’ve got Takuya Eguchi and Yuichiro Umehara providing that deep, warm core to the song while Natsuki Hanae and Soma Saito go technical on those high notes and ad-libs.

The dynamic between both voice tones is well explored, making sure the listener is always aware of that contrast (with high notes and low notes taking turns in the background, adding more color to the performance).

Individually, all performances were spotless. This is no easy song to perform for either the baritones or the tenors, so to have a good balance between all individual parts is quite impressive. No one missed a beat. No one sounded off.

And as a whole, SolidS shows that teamwork really has improved for them. Their harmonizations and unisons sound cohesive, with a lot of depth and clarity – the latter, essential to telling apart who’s performing what within the song.


Final considerations

SolidS is back to its fervent, intense rock with industrial hints, at least for one of the tracks.

After listening to “SPADE”, I’m quite pleased with how the unit satisfies both fans of the unit’s original intense, passionate sound and those that fancy their matured jazzier sound.

AwesomeAgain” stands out for its dirty, industrial-influenced rock sound however, I feel like this may be the type of song that will tick off some fans, especially due to how the synths were used in the composition.

I do have my reservations about the vocals in the latter part of the song. In a live setting those may end up working well, it’s just that, in a recording, it’s a bit of a drag having those vocals repeating over and over without adding anything good to the overall performance.

The song could have wrapped up 20 – 30 seconds earlier and it would have been much pleasing to listen to.

Still a thoroughly entertaining song that is a nod to SolidS’ sound from 2016 – 2018, bringing that passion and excitement back to the spotlight.

Now, the best song in this single – at least for me – is “& Night Trap”.

Jazz has been a music genre with which SolidS has been experimenting in the last 3 years to great results.

To fit this music genre, the unit has matured on the vocal end, presenting a polished dynamic between the baritones and tenors as well as employing more technique in their performances.

And in “& Night Trap” you have those smooth, elegant performances with a hint of allure and a pinch of mature coolness. Between the addictive – and extremely punchy – instrumental and the fancy vocals, you’ve got plenty to take in with this song.

“SPADE” wraps up the SolidS’ participation in the CARDS CD series on a genuinely good note, marrying their original passionate, fiery edge with their new, matured vibe and sound.


SQ 「CARDS」 Series Volume 4 SolidS 「SPADE」 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Awesome♛Again
& Night Trap

SUMMARY

SolidS wraps up its participation in the CARDS CD series with an entry that is an almost perfect marriage between their original fiery sound and their now matured one. As a result, this single has performances that will please fans of either (or both) iterations to SolidS' sound and performances. As always, "allure" is a big focus for SolidS' songs with both "Awesome♛Again" - in its lyrics - and "& Night Trap" - song as a whole -, but you get a mature take on that in both songs, something that goes in line with the growth the unit has shown in the last 3 years. From the catchy, hyped-up rock music in "Awesome♛Again" to the fancy Latin Jazz-inspired "& Night Trap", listeners will find in this CD, two crazy fun songs and plenty of technical performances with Takuya Eguchi, Soma Saito, Natsuki Hanae, and Yuichiro Umehara showcasing their improved skills on the vocal end. Neat conclusion to their participation in the CARDS CD series.
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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SolidS wraps up its participation in the CARDS CD series with an entry that is an almost perfect marriage between their original fiery sound and their now matured one. As a result, this single has performances that will please fans of either (or both) iterations to SolidS' sound and performances. As always, "allure" is a big focus for SolidS' songs with both "Awesome♛Again" - in its lyrics - and "& Night Trap" - song as a whole -, but you get a mature take on that in both songs, something that goes in line with the growth the unit has shown in the last 3 years. From the catchy, hyped-up rock music in "Awesome♛Again" to the fancy Latin Jazz-inspired "& Night Trap", listeners will find in this CD, two crazy fun songs and plenty of technical performances with Takuya Eguchi, Soma Saito, Natsuki Hanae, and Yuichiro Umehara showcasing their improved skills on the vocal end. Neat conclusion to their participation in the CARDS CD series.Review | SolidS "SPADE"