Review | Takuya Sato “DAY & NIGHT”

Takuya Sato is back with the new mini-album “DAY & NIGHT“. Quality, variety and consistency mark his best CD release to date.

Title: DAY & NIGHT
Label: Frontier Works
Release date: 05/07/2017
Genre: Punk-Pop/Rock/Jazz

Tracklist:

1 - Burning Wheel
2 - My salvation
3 - 酔闇アゲハ
4 - distance
5 - 恋花火
6 - WORLD END

Track by track analysis:

1 – Burning Wheel

A long guitar riff introduces us to “Burning Wheel“, the single’s opening track. Unlike Sato‘s previous songs, “Burning Wheel” tries to encapsulate a hyped pop-rock sound that could easily be considered fit for an anime song.

Burning Wheel” has a retro touch, courtesy of the synths that take the listener back to 90’s and early 00’s anime songs. But it’s not the retro touch that caught our attention.

The bass work for this song is over the charts, with the whole song feeling powerful thanks to the strong bass line. The drums added some depth to this already bassy sound.

And if this wasn’t enough to hype you, the guitar work is the most fun we’ve ever encountered on Sato‘s repertoire.

The vocal performance matches the excitement and energy of the song, not requiring a lot of technicality, nevertheless, Sato‘s performance was more than satisfactory in our books. 

2 – My salvation

My salvation” puts Sato in a pop-punk/rock context, something that fans had been more than eager to listen to. Heavy guitar riffs, distorted licks, powerful bassline, and punk-rock splashy drums set the amazing tempo and pace for this song.

The mix between punk rock, pop, and industrial rock is more obvious as soon as the song kicks off. This diversity and richness in the instrumental enable the song to have proper verses, that build up the tension for the raw and mighty chorus.

Upon listening to the first bars in the instrumental we could help but to anticipate a performance that would fit with the mood, energy, and edgy vibes we were getting. What we got was exactly that and more.

Sato put his robust vocals to the test, delivering strong mid-tones, reaching out for higher keys with no issues, and even blowing everyone away every time he dared using his lower register. “My salvation” puts this mini-album in a fantastic place after a stellar performance on both ends.

3 – 酔闇アゲハ

Heavy guitar riffs welcome us to this pop-rock song with a catchy chorus and engaging verses that will make you want to sing along to it. 酔闇アゲハ is a laidback song, there’s no place for fancy synths or uptempo drums or anything that will hype the listener.

I felt that, after the previous songs, this one serves as a good intermission between the fast-paced rock and what awaits us for the rest of the mini-album.

Sato‘s performance is borderline alluring in the verses, especially due to the fact that he delivered almost all those lines in a breathy way.

The chorus has a quieter performance but it was what this song needed.

4 – distance

distance” strays away from the fast-paced rock sound and embraces a more laidback, summery, jazz-rock sound.

The guitar riffs are melodic (the riffs in the verses are playful and the bridge’s solo was a delight to listen to), the piano melody is sweet, the drums are minimalistic while the bass takes the spotlight.

The intro stands out with Sato‘s ad-libs and falsetto making an appearance. With a slow-paced, “feel good” instrumental, I find Sato performing this song in such a soothing way that the listener can’t help but be swayed.

distance” sets a different mood for the second half of the mini-album while not disregarding the quality in the instrumental and vocal departments.

5 – 恋花火

Remember those T.M.Revolution‘s 90’s hits? 恋花火 (Koi Hanabi) has the same pop-rock feel as those. This is an upbeat song with an exciting chorus and simple, melodic verses. The instrumentalization for this song is a bit more complex than the previous songs.

You have synths in the background setting the lively mood we’re faced with, the guitars are melodic, often soloing throughout the song.

The drums add to the mood with a danceable beat but without the help from the Latin percussion, it wouldn’t have been able to level this song up.

The vocal performance has some enka touches to it (although not easily noticeable) that Sato nails off. 恋花火 is a song that, despite being the oddball in this release, has its fun and entertainment value. 

6 – WORLD END

WORLD END” brings back that powerful, edgy vibe we got from the first two songs.

Dreamy guitar riffs lead the way for this fast-paced rock tune, the fast-paced bassy drums, and the bass add depth to the song to the point that, for those listening to this song with good performance headphones, it will seem like the bass drum is in your throat. Besides the fantastic instrumental, we find Sato performing at a high level.

His vocals tackle the trickiest parts in the song with ease and make the overall enjoyment for this song reach all-time highs.

WORLD END” came full circle, closing this mini-album in the same exciting and consistent way it was opened. Top marks. 


Final considerations

Quality, variety, consistency, these are the adjectives to describe this release.

Don’t be fooled by the cover art (in any of the two versions) or by the fact that Sato has been on a pop incursion for the past few releases.

This release is nothing like you’re thinking it is. Forget everything he has released so far, nothing comes close with just how well put and crafted this mini-album was.

DAY & NIGHT” ditches that pop sound and takes both him and the listener to a place where punk-rock, rock and only a little bit of pop collide.

The opening and ending tracks, “Burning Wheel and “WORLD END“, are contrasting but are two central points that sum up this release well. Starting and ending big is a formula that not only ties all loose ends but leaves a feeling of accomplishment in the listener.

This mini-album ranged from laidback summery tunes with “distance“, to 90s throwbacks with “恋花火“, anisong with “Burning Wheel” and hyped-up, pop-punk tunes with “My salvation” and “WORLD END“. This mini-album is diverse, interesting, and incredibly consistent.

This is hands down, Sato‘s best release to date, one in which he made the best use of his robust vocals. He’s been improving over the past few releases and the results can be heard, he’s as stable and confident as ever. I’ve been saying this since his debut: he fits best with rock music and this mini-album is the proof.

All in all, this release hit the mark with exciting well-crafted instrumentals, good lyrics, and engaging performances. This time Sato exceeded everyone’s expectations. “DAY & NIGHT” is a true gem of a mini-album.


DAY & NIGHT” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

SUMMARY

"DAY & NIGHT" is a massive upgrade over everything Takuya Sato has released so far as a solo artist. Consistency, a cohesive theme and tone, and a whole lot of quality on the vocal end make this mini-album a treat to listen to and a must-listen.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Burning Wheel
My salvation
酔闇アゲハ
distance
WORLD END
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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