Noanowa - Hi! How Are You?

review - 10.29.2011 13:00

This mini-album shows both a cute and mellow side.

Noanowa is a five-piece pop and light punk group from Tokyo which began activities in 2003. The group is led by vocalist/cellist Yukko whose voice is very recognizable: it is nasal but carries plenty of character and is cute. Most of their compositions carry a cute flavor while others take a much more serious tone.

Noanowa’s fourth mini-album Hi! How Are You? was released earlier this year, on May 5th. The mini-album ranked 28th on the Oricon Charts. The title track, Have a Good Day! has been used as the theme song in a CM for Anessa, a sun and skin care line under cosmetics giant Shiseido.

Bright, happy and sweet, Have a Good Day! invites the listener to literally have a good day. With cute, bubbly synthesizers and a bright timbre, the song invokes happiness. The track is short, but long enough to attract attention.

Compared with the slower, mid-80’s synthesizer beat, the vocals seem purposely off-key in Namida, Porori. This combination sounds a bit odd but once the chorus hits, it seems to work. Yukko’s higher notes in this track seem a bit squeaky—maybe this is the intention of the song— but in other tracks, she can clearly hit higher notes.

The following track, Pee-Kaa-Boo returns to the very cute image that Have a Good Day presents. Pee-Kaa-Boo emulates that same feeling with extremely cute, layered sound bites of children shouting and playing in the background as well as synthesizers in short, varying lengths and pitches that bounce around the melody.

Everynight takes less of a playful tone by sounding more serious. Stripping expectations of something cute and bubbly, the song is played in a minor key. Instead of the chorus solely making most of the impact with the melody, the verses match the chorus. Yukko’s vocals sound similar to rock group, nano.RIPE but in a mid-alto range.

The mini-album wraps up with Calling, a lighter power ballad. Yukko demonstrates a softer side to her voice, paired with a base piano melody and later, beautiful violin heard in the background.

Overall, Hi! How Are You? showcases a pleasant balance of Noanowa’s work, whether it is cute or of a serious tone. It's worth considering other Noanowa works; Midnight Circus is currently popular among fans.

The mini-album can be purchased through CD Japan, iTunes Japan or Amazon.co.jp.

Below is a short video for Have A Good Day, featuring washed out footage, some interesting colour combinations and cute typography usage. Enjoy!

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