Doremidan - Yuugure Line

review - 15.06.2008 22:00

Doremidan comes back with a stunningly eclectic album.

Yuugure Line is the first album from Doremidan since their reformation earlier this year. It was a welcome return from the quintet and Yuugure Line is a perfect pairing to this comeback as Doremidan entertains with an eclectic blend of styles.

Yuugure Line starts off on a highly promising note with Boku no koe, kaze to tomo ni, which has to be one of the more interesting album openers in a while. The simple use of contrabass contrasts beautifully with Makoto's soaring vocals in an innocent, nostalgic melody. This steadily builds into a fully orchestrated grandiose affair with a stunning guitar solo and riffs reminiscent of X Japan. My Love My Life, meanwhile, is a thundering anthem that is influenced by jazz, visual kei and pop and combines them in a bouncy song that lingers in the mind long after it is gone. The guitars of Ryu and Ken play off each other, combining in a driving breakdown in each bridge and then a stunning instrumental that has them playing off each other.

This playful theme is given a big band jazz dimension in Shinjouron, as more inventive guitar playing is added with flourishes of brass to create a toe tapping, funky number. Betray Dead Escape is different again with a more traditional rock sensibility. Powered by a strong bass line from Shinji, the twin guitars of Ryu and Ken respond to each other with complex riffing. Having said that, Makoto's voice seemed to fade into the background amidst the many layers of music.

Mugen yoto continues this new trend of heaviness, although with a distinctly spooky sound from well placed synth effects. In addition, the twirling guitars contribute a crazy, decadent fairground feel, bringing the album into the realms of goth. Makoto's vocals echo this as well, taking a lower pitch as they alternate between punchy and smooth. The following Tasogare Trapezium picks up the pace with a frantic pounding drumbeat punctuated by short shouts from Makoto. His vocals carry the melody almost a capella through the chorus, as the suddenly minimal guitars leave only Makoto and that speedy drumbeat. This is continued in Sore demo sekai wa mawaru no desu, but with more shouting and a catchy pop rock sound that rivals My Love My Life in anthemic quality. This, more than any other track, shows the tight production present on this album.

Sadly though, in the next couple of songs, Doremidan loses it. While precisely played, the melody in Sayonara Remember is quite forgettable and the lead guitar is a little too piercing. Makoto's smooth vocals carry the song, but the clashing sounds mean this is a little out of place on an otherwise stellar album. The same could be said of True Rain, a ballad that is mostly unremarkable until the tremulous guitar solo midway through that finally kicks the tune into life. Makoto's vocals are perhaps a little too harsh and notably go off near the end. This is a shame, as up to this point the album was very strong with a good balance between rock, jazz and carnival experimentation.

On the upside, it closes on a positive note with Kakuekiteisha meguri ai, a return to a retro 50's theme and light, carefree vocals. The guitars trip along the melody with a strong bass line pinning it all in place. It is playful, upbeat and leaves the album on a happy note.

Despite a couple of mishaps, Yuugure Line is possibly one of Doremidan's strongest albums to date. The initial experiments in music are a joy and it holds up as a highly polished and balanced piece of work.
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Doremidan 2008

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