Review Exclusive

VELVET★CHERRY - Arise

22/09/2019 2019-09-22 02:19:00 JaME 183 views Author: Ruchesko

Jacks of all trades, masters of none.


© VELVET★CHERRY. All rights reserved.
Mini-Album CD

Arise

VELVET★CHERRY

It’s a common complaint among Western fans of Japanese rock that many artists tend to cycle through multiple styles of rock on a single record. While it can certainly be jarring when, say, a hard rock act peppers an album with ballads and pop ditties, it’s a simple fact that Japan’s rock scene doesn't foster the same dogmatic ethos scenes in the West. It’s also true that some bands wear their musical versatility on their collective sleeves.

Take VELVET★CHERRY, who've revealed their choice of live drummer depends on the set-list for their next gig. Formed by vocalist AKANE and guitarist Shinichi as an acoustic duo, they went electric in 2010. The two albums that ensued, including 2015’s aptly-titled DIVERSE, saw them criss-cross the rock landscape, ranging from thunderous hard rock to brash garage rock to breezy pop-rock. Their latest mini-album Arise, released in November 2017, was only marginally less varied.

Session drummer CHARGEEEEEE… opens proceedings with a marching beat on the intro to Sepia which, in spite of a chugging riff from Shinichi, morphs into a mid-tempo oddity without a conventional guitar solo. In contrast, Parrot plays like the heavy number Sepia sounded like it would be. On top of the guitar solo and AKANE’s impressive vibrato, it boasts some nifty bass work by Hayato.

The rest of Arise pulls in a less heavy direction, but that’s about as much as the songs have in common. VELVET★CHERRY speed things up for Rain, start and stop throughout Onward, and step back to the early ‘70s on Dazzle. Finally, AKANE and Shinichi go back to their roots with an acoustic cover of Murasaki no cho from 2013’s CRUSH ON!!. The result is a compelling case for them to record a full-length unplugged album.

The expression “jack of all trades, master of none” is an unlikely but useful way to describe VELVET★CHERRY’s music. The permanent members are all competent performers, but the decision to not commit themselves to a single rock sub-genre means they’re yet to develop anything resembling a signature sound. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

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