Could you call it an UVER comeback?
UVERworld, it must be admitted, had some sad troubles at the beginning of the year. Vocalist and frontman TAKUYA∞ knocked off a policeman’s cap while being written up because he was feeling bored and got his band’s album postponed for a month and a half. (Please. Worst cause for a “scandal” ever. What’s next, Hamasaki Ayumi gets suspended by avex for sticking her tongue out in a photo with some politician? Not really, but I can dream for some amusement.) Of course, other fan-speculated reasons for the album’s postponement included “scary cover” – but SONY used it anyways, so clearly it can’t be the cause of the delay.
So they released their second album, BUGRIGHT, a month and a half after the original release date without much fanfare other than TAKUYA∞‘s stupidity and a PV to remind people that they still existed. Following my usual procrastinating and inattentive nature, I’ve yet to develop a definite opinion of it. But what I have gladly listened to is their seventh and latest single, endscape.
endscape is a pop-rock song in UVERworld’s usual style – which is to say it’s a somewhat unimaginative mixture of the band and TAKUYA∞‘s synth melodies and brings nothing new to UVERworld’s repetoire. Which is a damn shame, because what glimpses I caught of the music video looked gorgeous. There’s some whistling mixed into the instrumental prior to the ending bridge, which is a nice light-hearted touch. And the ending bridge features TAKUYA∞ with backup vocals from the guitarists, and the three sound nice combined as they do here. And TAKUYA∞‘s emotional style of singing works well with that part. But there’s another four minutes of the song that I’m still not so enthralled with, and after an awesome title and an awesome-looking video, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Thankfully, the second track, UNKNOWN ORCHESTRA, picks up the pace. It starts off sounding as though it might be a remix with the filter on TAKUYA∞‘s vocals, but it’s really just a buildup into UVER pop-rock with one of the best dance beats to pop up from SONY in a while. The vocals are a mixture of rapping stanzas and sung choruses, but that suits this song’s mood perfectly. I don’t especially like the filtered vocals popping up in the song proper, since TAKUYA∞ comes off as sounding like he has a lisp. But the aforementioned dance beat makes everything in this song better. TAKUYA∞‘s synth plays work wonderfully with drummer Shintarou’s pacing, and while I wouldn’t like it if every song UVERworld put out sounded like this, it’s a good change from endscape.
モノクローム～気付けなかったdevotion～ [MONOCHROME ~kidzukenakatta devotion~] is the final song on this three-track single, and is a pop-rock ballad. But unlike their last song in that genre (Kimi no Suki na Uta), it’s not so soft. The music is powerful and gives the sense of a finale instead of an emotional climax. And it can’t be denied that if the opening (drumbeat, then choral guitar melody) sounds familiar, it’s because they used the method a lot of J-Rock artists did for finale-type songs. TAKUYA∞‘s vocals seem almost too weak for this sort of song, but the emotion and passion are clearly present in his voice – with good reason too, as this song is apparently a personal track referencing his memories with his grandfather; and written for guitarist Akira and drummer Shintarou, who lost their grandfathers in the last two years.
Let’s face it: I’m none too fond of the titular track. And in fact, I really want to strip it of its name and call it “SHAMROCK – the less excellent sequel”. (Seriously. That’s what it is. And this is the summer of sequels.) But this is still a great release for UVERworld, heading in different directions from the rap-rock of Timeless and the pop of BUGRIGHT. And if their singles have been any indicators as to the sound of the albums, UVERworld’s third album may be the most fun yet.