Unicorn Jr. “After Burner” (Review)

main_afterburner
Credits: Rejet

Unicorn Jr.’s “After Burner” may not claim the title of the unit’s magnum opus, yet it remains an enthralling and invigorating single, brimming with excitement and an undeniable freshness.

Unicorn Jr. group cover
Unicorn Jr. group cover
Title: After Burner
Label: Rejet
Release date: 09/09/15
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

01.アフターバーナー 
02.Mr.8 
03.Uncrowned 
04.ストレンジャー 
05.アフターバーナー -off vocal- 
06.Mr.8 -off vocal- 
07.Uncrowned -off vocal- 
08.ストレンジャー -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

01.アフターバーナー (After Burner)

With their trademark strong electronica-driven instrumentals, the title track is clearly hinting for us to go to the dancefloor.

Dirty synths lead the way in a track that makes a lot of space for each and every member to shine on his way, in the bridge and outro the song is graced with powerful guitar riffs to up the energy.

While the intro to the track might sound a bit overwhelming the verses quickly make up for it.

Depending on your preferences Aoi and Chiharu might have made an incredibly strong impression with their vocal performance.

Aoi’s smooth and sexy approach to the lyrics, as well as Chiharu’s deep and sweet vocals, lead the way vocally for Someya to blend in just fine. As the most “exotic” singer, Someya has a bit of a handicap in comparison with melodic singers like Aoi and Chiharu.

Even though he might sound sometimes a bit out of place, it’s him in the chorus putting everything together. As a whole the track is fun. addictive although a bit repetitive towards the end.

02.Mr.8

Going towards a “cute” concept, “Mr.8” brings a more ska-inspired instrumental to bring out the “cuteness” in this unit. This is one of those tracks where you need to have an extra “open mind” to completely enjoy it.

On my side, the best thing to do about this track is, besides the fact that the unit is singing it incredibly well, to forget about it altogether.

The instrumental is the put-off element for this track with the annoying synths. Not that great of a track and certainly not the best one in this release.

03.Uncrowned

Bringing back the rock elements from their past release “Uncrowned” sounds fierce right from the start.

With powerful drums, aggressive guitar riffs with a strong bassline, this instrumental really sets aside all electronica elements from the previous tracks, delivering a highly energetic and addictive tune. Vocally everything seemed to be in place – the unit sounded as a whole and managed to give an extra flavor to the track.

04.ストレンジャー

Stranger” gives off a “Desperados” vibe with its acoustic guitars right in the intro. Latin percussion, melodic guitars, and acoustic guitars lead the way in what sounds like a mix between salsa and pop-rock.

Just from the instrumental track we’re entranced, being impossible not to dance along it. To sum it all up – it’s an upgrade version of “Masquerade” by Marginal #4 but with a better chorus and guitar solo.

The vocal performance was top tier by Aoi sounding as sexy as the instrumental track.

Regarding Chiharu and Someya we also have heaps of good things to say but I’d never stop so to sum it all up: they sounded right on the spot with great control and fit in with both the genre and the beat in an impressive way. Impressive track.

Final considerations

As soon as “After Burner” starts, you’re hit with an unstoppable surge of energy. It’s like a sonic rollercoaster ride that keeps your adrenaline pumping from start to finish.

But hold on, there’s more! Unicorn Jr. doesn’t stop there. They’ve got another treat in store for us with the mesmerizing track, “Stranger.” Get ready to be blown away by the band’s vibrant new palette of sounds. It’s like they’ve taken a paintbrush and created a stunning masterpiece with an array of colors. It is a song that will leave a mark on you.

Now, let’s talk about this release as a whole. It may be a bit more subdued compared to their previous work, but that doesn’t make it any less special. In fact, it’s a refreshing departure from their usual style that allows Unicorn Jr. to flex their musical muscles in ways we haven’t seen before.

They effortlessly adapted to different genres like rock and Latin. It’s clear that they’re not just really comfortable with their brand of dance-pop tunes but also fearless explorers of uncharted musical territories.

Let’s shower Shouta Aoi with praise for his sensational performance on every track. Without a doubt, he emerges as the unequivocal MVP of this release, effortlessly delivering smooth and seductive vocals while exhibiting impeccable control over his tone.

Chiharu and Someya, too, deserve recognition for their gradual improvement. While Chiharu already is on par with many of the top seiyuu singers currently, Someya still has room for growth in terms of vocal mastery. Rest assured, with a few more singles under their belt, I believe he can improve and start delivering performances on the same level as his peers.

“After Burner” may not claim the title of the unit’s magnum opus, yet it remains an enthralling and invigorating single, brimming with excitement and an undeniable freshness.

After Burner is available for purchase on CDAJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

アフターバーナー
Mr.8
Uncrowned
ストレンジャー

SUMMARY

It may be a bit more subdued compared to their previous work, but that doesn't make it any less special. In fact, it's a refreshing departure from their usual style that allows Unicorn Jr. to flex their musical muscles in ways we haven't seen before. They effortlessly adapted to different genres like rock and Latin. It's clear that they're not just really comfortable with their brand of dance-pop tunes but also fearless explorers of uncharted musical territories. "After Burner" may not claim the title of the unit's magnum opus, yet it remains an enthralling and invigorating single, brimming with excitement and an undeniable freshness.

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It may be a bit more subdued compared to their previous work, but that doesn't make it any less special. In fact, it's a refreshing departure from their usual style that allows Unicorn Jr. to flex their musical muscles in ways we haven't seen before. They effortlessly adapted to different genres like rock and Latin. It's clear that they're not just really comfortable with their brand of dance-pop tunes but also fearless explorers of uncharted musical territories. "After Burner" may not claim the title of the unit's magnum opus, yet it remains an enthralling and invigorating single, brimming with excitement and an undeniable freshness.Unicorn Jr. "After Burner" (Review)