Airashiisaa is Serial⇔NUMBER's latest single, and though most CD jackets don't tell you much, this one very aptly reflects the music on the CD. The cover art shows cartoon figures of the band members, each with brightly colored hair playing on a multi-colored Chinese lion puppet, so you immediately see two things: a burst of bright colors and a Chinese lion. Each of these is captured in one of the songs on the single.
The lion evokes a feeling of historical Okinawa that - situated between China and Japan - is heavily influenced by China in its traditional culture. Okinawan musicians like Rinken Band, for example, and even the younger Orange Range have shown this visually in their work at times, the former in their traditional Chinese dress and drums, the latter with Chinese dragons in a music video. This imagery is a new step for Serial⇔NUMBER, four of whose members are from mainland Japan. But as they have been branching into different styles of music and cultures lately, it was perhaps a logical progression to turn to Okinawa. Airashiisaa's first track (of the same name) has a very Okinawan sensibility to it musically and in the lyrics, whereas the bright, intense colors on the CD cover capture the effusive energy and brilliance of the second track, GURUGURU.
Airashiisaa opens with a relaxed but catchy guitar riff, along with a beat that will compel you to jump or dance. What's transmitted is a celebratory party atmosphere - sunny and laid back, like you're on vacation. Hibiki's bass is prominent in the chorus, rising during the pauses between the vocals as though in response to Sasaki Jin. The guitar solo bridge is fairly brief but exhibits a sunny revelry and playful mood. Although the song is fairly bouncy and upbeat, it lacks the band's usual hyper energy; it's simpler, more natural and a track that will put you at ease. Concerning the lyrics: the sand, ocean and the word "awamori" (an Okinawan liquor) are all evocative of Okinawa, one of the most popular vacation spots for the Japanese and tied inextricably to beaches, relaxation and a slower paced lifestyle. This is the Okinawa conveyed in the song, though the CD jacket's illustration picks up on Okinawa's Chinese influences instead.
GURUGURU, on the other hand, is a severe, intense rock number. Fast-paced and heavy, it's perfect for getting an audience riled up during a live show. Thoroughly engaging and colorful throughout, this is the stronger of the two songs. It opens with a heavy fist-pumping beat accompanied by the wild guitar riffs of Kazune and Shiyuu. The verse is quieter, spotlighting the darkly aggressive vocals and low jazzy bass. Kai's drums maintain a subtle driving pace that gives the song its momentum and speeds up during the lead-in to the chorus. The other instruments follow suit for a loud and catchy refrain, highlighted by shouted vocals that overlap the main melody. The guitar solo is short but fun, climbing up the scale to finish on a high note as the song rushes into the third verse.
Overall, this single is a bit of a surprise. The second track is the more exciting of the two, but doesn't demonstrate the band's versatility as much as Airashiisaa does. Whether you're looking for something relaxing or a rock song you can go crazy to, this single demonstrates that the still young Serial⇔NUMBER can do both very well. Continually pushing themselves to new frontiers, there’s no telling what this band will come up with next.
Serial⇔ NUMBER - Airashiisaa
review - 19.06.2008 13:00
Serial⇔NUMBER's new single shows off a previously unseen side of the band.