MEGARYU - Jetto Kiryuu

review - 08.17.2007 08:00

Reggae and Dancehall duo MEGA HORN and RYU REX present their third full album.

MEGARYU is a reggae/dancehall duo consisting of MEGA HORN and RYU REX and by saying that, it's fairly easy to guess where the group name came from. Both of them had been active in the reggae/dancehall scene for a few years when they met in 2000 and formed MEGARYU. In 2004 they signed with the Avex label Cutting Edge, on which they released July 2007 their third full album, Jetto Kiryuu. Reggae has been getting pretty popular in Japan and MEGARYU fits in this current trend perfectly. While they don't bring much of anything new to the genre, they still know how to create good, enjoyable music.

In general, the album can be divided into three sections: merry sounding reggae songs that may bring an image of tropical islands and sandy beaches in mind, dancehall songs with a slightly gloomy feeling but oddly good for clubbing, and a number of groovy soca songs.

The album starts off with the dancehall track Saikyou place ~ Imakoso kizuke~ which is almost entirely sung by MEGA HORN. With his voice deep and low, it’s a rather big contrast with RYU REX’s, who only provides a few lines throughout this song. Though one isn’t really able to call MEGA HORN’s vocals singing, it’s not quite rapping either, but it works well together with the beat.

RYU REX gets more opportunity to show his vocal talent in the following songs, his voice sounding boyish, fresh, and more melodious than his colleague’s. With both Shunkashuutou LOVE and the following track WAY, they present two happy, easy-going reggae songs. Moderately paced and with playful sounds tinkling along, the songs give a carefree impression.

After those songs, one may find themselves longing for something more powerful and it’s almost as if MEGARYU thought so too as the next track, Denkousekka no gotoku, is a dancehall track again with a solid beat. The song has a slightly gloomy feeling to it, the happiness and carefree feeling from the former tracks gone. Again, it’s MEGA HORN taking care of most of the vocals and throughout the song, the rhythm is generated by several beats and an acoustic guitar, making it a great track to dance to, albeit a little slow.

The following track is STAR, which starts with an intro with little bells chiming, almost like a lullaby. The slow reggae track is a mix between reggae and a pop ballad and RYU REX does an excellent job on the vocals. The song Tomo yo is actually a ballad, and RYU REX’s vocals are absolutely flawless again but somehow it seems like these two compositions would be a better fit on a boy group’s album. Nonetheless, Tomo Yo is a great song that has the potential to really touch people, but if the listener is looking for some more upbeat reggae and dancehall songs, skip these two.

With STAND UP and Motto Jiuu they step into the direction of soca, but a slower, less festive kind which is edging more towards the groovy soca category. RYU REX manages to shake off the boyish sound and fuses well with the overall somber atmosphere of STAND UP whilst Motto Jiuu has a more cheerful sound again.

From the somber STAND UP, the sun is shining brightly again with ROOTS, which is a merry, gentle reggae song. The intro of the song sounds a lot alike the song Kizuna by PANG, on which MEGARYU were featured as well; the two songs are comparable to each other like siblings.

After the dancehall song Ubaisaritai, they return to the happy reggae sound with Atsuatsu de ite hoshii and Tough na Heart. It’s not hard to imagine sunshiny days spent on sandy beaches while sipping from colorful cocktails when listening to these tracks. MUSICAL POWER is also a soca song, but faster than the previous ones. The lilting, electronic beat is very present throughout the song and gives it a festive sound.

The album ends with the song Itsumo futari de (forever together), which has a 'and they lived happily ever after' feel to it, perfectly suited to be the last song.

Most of the songs on the album are moderately paced songs with a cheerful quality to them, which gives the impression that the album can use some extra power, something to spice it up. Though, it’s very nice to listen to when you are in a relaxed, carefree state of mind, party-goers might prefer artists such as MINMI, Lecca, or Shonannokaze.
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