Genki Rockets – GENKI ROCKETS II -No border between us-

September 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Genki Rockets | 4 Comments
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  1. prologue : the Blue
  2. Curiosity
  3. Touch me
  4. fluffy
  5. Reaching for the stars
  6. Dreaming across stars
  7. make.believe
  8. Flow
  9. Wonderland
  10. Maker
  11. rebirth
  12. Hikari no tabi
  13. Good night
  14. Touch me (metalmouse + mix)
  15. make.believe (The_AIU mix)
  16. Curiosity (RAC mix)
  17. Touch me (DORIAN mix)

I stopped hearing about Genki Rockets after the release of their debut album and I feared that they would not be returning with a sophomore release. However, in 2010 they unveiled the world’s first 3D and CG music video for their brand new song. The cute, child-like feel to their music has been replaced with a much more mature sound. While their first album was made up of mostly synth melodies with some of the songs including other instruments, on this album there’s an emphasis in combining their already brilliant electronic creations with organic instrumentats. Not only has the music been updated but Lumi is now a beautiful CG model of Rachel Rhodes. Genki Rockets is bigger, better and more magical than before.

prologue : the Blue is a flawless introduction that showcases the bands updated sound. Elements of nature, synths, strings, chimes and a piano are all utilized to set up an enchanting melody. The dramatic, orchestral ending adds a nice touch and it’s quite epic. It gives a taste of their incorporation of live instruments which only gets better from here on in. Curiosity reveals another aspect of the group that has improved greatly which is Lumi’s vocals. Her voice is stronger, more expressive and there’s a newfound maturity. The synth-based melody is energetic and at the same time it has a nice calming effect. Once the song enters the chorus, strings take their place next to the synths and Lumi’s gorgeous vocals pull you in, “and where we are just a step from the light/look through the clouds there is paradise/see the sky, there is only hope ’cause it’s in your future.” It’s reminiscent of Heavenly Star because it has the same intoxicating atmosphere and it’s such a bright song. The bridge, like a lot of their other bridges, slows down to show off the electro beat and I like how the percussion goes crazy before going back into the happy chorus. They couldn’t have chosen a better way to start the album. Touch me is lighter than the previous song and there’s a slight filter effect on her vocals. Guitars, synths and sweet vocals make this another standout song and the lyrics are as cute as ever, “I want you let’s feel and touch/touch my cheeks like the summer breeze/I feel tingles in the air/particles, cover me, with your touch.” The relaxed style of the verses isn’t permanent because when the chorus hits it turns into a synth love affair. Chimes and a piano sneak their way into the atmospheric bridge which provides a shift in the melody for a brief moment. I love how they incorporate the instruments from the bridge in the final chorus and the backing vocals are really nice.

The first interlude, fluffy, sounds like a music box melody collided with synths. The serene piano melody is lovely and the occasional burst of synth spices it up. This transitions right into Reaching for the stars and it has a similar melody but it’s more upbeat. Lumi’s voice gets a heavy dose of vocoder and the song builds up slowly as it gets closer to the chorus. The vocal effects are toned down in the chorus and the melody is quite addicting. The guitar and synth beats are fairly simple but it has a charm to it that makes it likeable. Dreaming across stars is short and sweet. The melody is fast-paced with guitars and percussion beats while Lumi uses a higher register. At first, her voice is strange but the high, breathy tone she uses grew on me and I’m glad that she’s not sticking to the same tone for each song. Not much changes in the chorus except for the tempo and Lumi sings with more energy. The instrumental breakdown after the chorus adds a much-needed change in sound and it helps keep the song from getting stale. The song that they unveiled last year and brought them back into the limelight is make.believe. The verses are crafted with a delicious guitar and her voice goes back to sounding the way it did in the first few songs. The chorus turns into a mellifluous dance beat with raving synths, strings and a heavenly performance from Lumi. It sounds similar to the first two songs but there’s enough going on to differentiate it and the vibrancy contained in the melody is infectious, “make it believe ‘n wishing someday/gonna fly high/just make it believe/wanna fly the high skies.”

The ballad, Flow, is an improvement over the one from their first album. That’s not to say their previous ballad was bad because it was fantastic but this one is more cohesive and natural. Lumi’s raw and emotional voice is coupled with an elegant piano. The beauty of this track is mesmerizing and the lyrics are so honest and heartfelt, “I’m living in nature/I touch, I feel, I cry/knowing that you have gone so, so far away.” It gets even better when the synths are added for the chorus and Lumi gives her best performance. Her high register is angelic and the way she holds the notes is done with such delicacy. Everything about this song is magnificent and it’s one of their best songs. The vocoder returns for Wonderland, a vibrant tune that takes a while for it to unravel. The verses could be better but they’re not too bad and the spurts of synths are quite contagious. The song doesn’t show its true potential until the chorus where it is filled with euphoric synths and stronger vocals. The vocoder effects sound much better with her lively vocals. Overall, this isn’t their most creative work but it is one of their more vibrant songs.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Maker because it’s not like anything they’ve done before. It’s their first edgy song and it’s refreshing. Lumi’s voice is vocoded but it sounds different from her usual digitized vocals. For the first time, she performs by speaking and the verses consist of her saying a handful of words, “feel/vibes/touch/love/you’re my maker/I’m your maker.” While this seems boring, it’s actually very catchy and the electric guitar that leads the melody packs an excellent punch. It’s nice to see them move away from the acoustics and it makes this really stand out. The chorus features actual singing from Lumi and she hits some great high notes. This is a superb experimental track that keeps the Genki Rockets flavour but spices it up a little. The final interlude, rebirth, is unnecessary. It’s short and it doesn’t even flow into the next song so it ends up being a random inclusion. Hikari no tabi doesn’t have any Japanese lyrics despite having a Japanese title but it’s another brilliant track. Rapid percussion starts it off and spacey synthesizers take over which lead to Lumi’s faded vocals. The verses have a laid-back approach compared to the happy, luminous and ear-catching chorus, “journey speed of light/my heart will feel you for eternity.” It’s cheesy but I can’t resist such an invigorating and bright song that’s made sweeter by a beautiful voice.

Good night is a stripped, lullaby-esque outro that focuses on Lumi’s voice and the accompanying piano. A set of strings appear halfway through and they beautify the melody even more. It’s very simple and it re-emphasizes their affair with organic instrumentation. The album finishes with a set of remixes, starting with Touch me (metalmouse + Mix). Compared to the original, there’s a focus on electro beats rather than live instruments and in the verses her vocals are faded. It’s dancier but it ends up having a similar feel and sound to the original. make.believe (The_AIU Mix) starts with a quiet, percussion-based melody which is a big departure over the original. Synths are eventually integrated as it builds into the chorus and the song switches to an all-out dance beat. I prefer the original though because the melody is so much more captivating and the remix just doesn’t flow as well. The one thing I love about Curiosity (RAC Mix) is the adorable piano intro. The synth beats that follow aren’t as infectious and the song is very subdued. The excitement and energy that I love about the original is lost. It’s not a bad remix but it’s too tame. Touch me (DORIAN Mix) is long, too long. Typical club beats run rampant with Lumi coming in occasionally to sing a few words. It gets better when she actually starts singing but this mix suffers from the same problem as the other ones. It goes for a subdued approach and it loses the feeling that made it so good in the first place.

Conclusion: Genki Rockets’ sophomore release is a step up from their debut album. All the great things from their debut are brought back and made even better. The vocals, melodies and lyrics have all been improved. The inclusion of organic instruments takes the band to a whole other level and gives their production a fresh, new sound. Their first album really showed that they were a virtual band but now their music is more human and it’s exhilarating. The band went beyond my expectations and delivered a heartfelt electropop masterpiece.

Recommended Tracks: Curiosity, Flow, Touch me, make.believe, Maker and Dreaming across stars

Rating

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4 Comments »

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  1. 😀 great review, I’ve found out about them after playing Child of Eden because “FLOW” was used as the ending song. I had to look them up and stumbled upon their first album, downloaded it, and now I listen to them in my little white Volkswagen buggy xD I got their 2nd album the moment it came out and now I’m listening to that in my little white Volkswagen buggy. lol

    • Thanks! I’ve never played the game but maybe one day I’ll try it.

  2. wow!!!! what a great review!!! i learned a lot!! thanks!!!


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