PureQ&A - Hyaku ki yako gento ki ~Time trip Screen~

review - 26.02.2010 02:24

Hyaku ki yako gento ki proves that PureQ&A deserves some recognition.

PureQ&A belongs to the category of bands which have remained pretty much unknown to a larger audience until the very end of their career. Given the overall quality of their work – among which Hyaku ki yako gento ki is arguably the most intriguing example of – and their long-standing collaboration with the respectable Speed Disk label, one can only be puzzled by how PureQ&A did not manage to gain more attention. Calling it a painfully classic case of bad luck, if not outright injustice, seems to give a fair account of the band’s situation.

But putting aside the above considerations about the sometimes cruel visual kei milieu, this review is about their aforementioned single. It consists of three songs, which from a stylistic standpoint could be described as an inspired mix between the quality of early Lolita 23’s songwriting and early Ayabie’s metal-influenced oshare kei. In any case, all three tracks enjoy the same kind of unique aura of naïve despair and overwhelming excessiveness one could be temped to label as “quintessentially visual kei.” Indeed, the persistent tension of Natsu to hanabi ni gingatetsudo which, after a ballad-like introduction, unexpectedly bursts into a long section consisting of a repetitive yet continuous escalation of pain, is almost classic visual kei.

The second song Gokudo's trip M(____)M is full of contrasts, as heavy riffs exist side-by-side with crystal pure melodies; overall, this song expresses perhaps even more profound emotions than the previous track. The last track, Melancholic screen, mixes an ominous atmosphere with a feeling of quasi-surrealism, and both elements end up merging into a heart-breaking chorus.

A couple of aspects related to the band should be pointed out. The first is that drummer Kou's kind of sloppy, stiff and ungracious way of playing might be a little difficult to digest at first, even though at the end of the day his patterns actually tend to make the songs even more intense and dramatic. Secondly, in terms of structure, PureQ&A’s songs fortunately escape a pre-formatted “verse-chorus-verse” type of approach, which makes their songs interesting not only because of good riffs and vocals, but also due to unexpected culminating points, contrasts and sudden changes of rhythm. Finally, it is worth noting that their music isn’t exactly what one could call a model of catchiness; in fact, it is kind of stiff and abrupt. It is also quite simplistic, yet not because of limited musical skills, but due to a fairly coherent artistic vision.

Getting to appreciate the band’s relatively unique way of putting songs together is likely to require an adjustment period. However, once assimilated, their music becomes a pleasure to the ears and an irresistible torture to the soul.
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