Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Kimura Kaela – Mamireru

From orange to pink!

Iain Mew: I am already on record as liking baroque Japanese techno-pop a lot. Kaela brings a different approach to the game with her strong voice pushed to the forefront and backed by thick bass and handclaps as well as a circling earworm synth riff. It reminds me of Catcall as much as Perfume. It’s a busy record with a lot happening at once, but none of it is wasted. The force generated by the combined effect means that when it hits the chorus, Kimura takes a leap up for high notes and the synths go into full on sweetness fever, the effect is all the more powerful.

Brad Shoup: She sounds like she doesn’t give a shit, but, like, not in a cool way? I like how the buried guitar strum contributes to the momentum, but I’m just not responding well to Kimura’s pitchiness. This just sounds like an electro-pop mismatch.

Anthony Easton: The chorus, with it’s archetypally  basic call to “Hey, Let’s Go”   reassures the listener that the rest of the work is equally simple — but cut the vocals, and this work, with its thicket of electronic music, has a significant amount of complexity and variation, and often lets the lyrics take second or third place — even avoiding them altogether in places. The discussion between the vocals and the instrumentation then is interesting enough to avoid boredom.

Will Adams: Almost suffocating in how busy it is, “Mamireru” takes a pop-rock track that sounds like a Shakira offcut and piles on synth layer after synth layer, backing vocal after backing vocal, then horribly mixes it all together into a shapeless wall of sound. This is not unlike standing in a department store equidistant from each brand’s section and hearing all of their different soundtracks at once.

Josh Langhoff: Either that’s a really long chorus or it’s two choruses battling for supremacy. You’ve got your “HEY let’s go!” chorus and then the chorus where she reaches wistfully for high notes — I say “wistfully” not because I think Kimura Kaela actually feels wistful, but because the tune demands wistfulness, so she checks off her wistfulness box like a station attendant initials the bathroom door. You can tell there’s a verse sandwiched in there because it’s got words (about a rhino and mystery?) but it’s not a chorus. The two different instrumental breaks are also not choruses. Wistfulness is fine and everything, but who’s got time for it?

Jonathan Bogart: I was all set to be unimpressed by the tender-aged twerp who fronted a 2000s revival of one of the greatest Japanese psych-rock bands of the 70s, but she’s got the vocal chops, able to move from a high, bell-like sonority to a strong lower throb without blinking. The song’s not quite up to that lineage, closer to American Apparel indie with its kiddie chants and spindly-spazzy instrumentation, but she can certainly sing.

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