January 2023

Last Night by the dresscodes

Released: 22.09.02 / Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS

The dresscodes is a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Ryohei Shima. What started out as a full band back in 2012 morphed into a solo project in 2014 and has featured a variety of guest players for recording sessions and shows. The project has had a lot of success over the years, with festival performances, a YouTube channel boasting close to 12 million views, and music featured in the CG film GANTZ:O among other achievements. So a seasoned veteran of the Japanese music industry who, while not quite independent, seems to be making a go of it on his own while covering a refreshingly wide range of musical styles.

Today’s track Last Night is a masterfully crafted dream-pop tune that has a great groove. The melody is smooth and easy to listen to, in fact the whole song is wrapped in a nice cushion of synth blankets that make it really soft on the ears. The mix is really incredibly well done. The soft, washy nature of the song actually hides some fantastic instrumental parts going on in the background. Every part is really well placed, and just active enough to work with the whole.

Ryohei’s vocals are very unique, and this song is a great example of the soft, breathy, almost-falsetto tone he approaches each piece with. It’s definitely going to be the area that divides listeners, though. I think it works well here (it doesn’t always) and it meshes well with the light feel of the song. I also particularly enjoy the use of percussion and synth effects, in particular the wind chimes. It’s rare to hear those used so sparingly when they’re present. I’d definitely consider adding this to a few relaxing playlists.

Verdict: Worth your time (3.6/5)

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Site moved and slowly updating…

There were some admin things that got in the way of my regular review schedule, so sorry for the wait. Old reviews are slowly being reformatted and updated and once that’s done I’ll be working on the look of the site, so stay tuned! In the mean time, regular weekday reviews are restarting today with Dive by 0am. So check that out and share the site with your friends!

Also, if you have any review suggestions I’d love to hear them so send me a message.

Dive by 0am

Released: 22.09.02 / Label: Self-released

0am is a unique pop duo from Tokyo. Members MAKIADACHI and COMiNUM have found success on TikTok with covers, original music, remixes of TV clips into songs, and some makeup videos. I love that they perform a lot of their music live in video, not to mention the crazy amount of videos they’ve put out. Their style is definitely modern pop. Great fashion sense, impeccable makeup, and crisp well-framed vertical videos shot closeup with multicolored LED lighting for ambiance. They certainly know their platform, but how does the music sound?

Today’s song Dive was released last September, so this review is a bit late because I’m really behind, but it’s been somewhat well received when compared to their other music. It’s a hyper-focused pop track with a simple groove and straight synth hits supporting a really active vocal line. The groove is created with typical drum samples, but also a lot of fun random non-musical sounds which give the whole track a playfulness that probably wouldn’t be apparent otherwise. The lyrics are your basic love song, and the song follows a pretty typical form. Of note is the addition of bass in the break down, which gives a little more color to the track, however the return to the final chorus afterwards ends up feeling a bit bland. Overall a solid pop track, and one that shows a lot of potential in the pair.

Verdict: Worth your time (3/5)

Stream or download the track

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