Reol: ‘Sigma’ – Album Review

 

Released: October 19, 2016

So, a little backstory of Reol. They are a Japanese musical unit consisting of Reol; the vocalist, Giga; the arranger, and Okiku; the creative director. Reol and Giga had first experiences of providing tunes to Japanese vocaloids such as the infamous Hatsune Miku. But this time round, it looks like Reol, the musical unit (I’m just gonna keep it there as well with Reol…), have decided to flourish themselves as headlining musicians with their recent releases. And as to finally placing themselves on the J-Pop map with their music, Reol are heavily focused on due to their aesthetic, as usual for a J-Pop act; crazy hairstyles, a cyberpunk meets Harajuku hybrid of fashion, amounts of hair-dye and make-up, and higher-than-stilettos platform shoes. Like their fellow J-Pop superiors: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Capsule, and Perfume, the fluff about the costumes and aesthetic is bound to be everything representational the band.

But don’t be fooled, as the group’s debut record, Sigma, manages to breaks these expectations. It’s actually quite unfair to class it as a J-Pop record, or them as a J-Pop band, as their music meets a fine line between heavy pounding EDM, completed with Reol’s high-pitched yet unique vocal performance and attention-grabbing application of lyrics and sounds. Sigma may be quite polished in its sound, but there is a cutting-edge with the group, almost extremely similar to the formula portrayed in a lot of contemporary K-Pop groups. It’s evident that this is a scheme to really publish the group as an alternative twist to your ordinary J-Pop unit. But like so, Reol is a band that is eager to showcase some pretty skill production and sounds, regardless if EDM at times can be quite disposable.

Opening the record is the fashionably fierce groove “Vip Kid”, until following the K-Pop steps in the fun track “Give Me a Break! Stop Now!” which is arguably the group’s most recognizable tune. Reol’s vocals are impressively smart in many tracks here, particularly in agile entries like the traditional dance track “YoiYoi Kokon”, the poppy “Chiruchiru”, and the EDM-indused “Viora”. But in most cases, Reol dab into strong Western elements with some delicious trap beats through “Re:” and “404 Not Found”, some spacey trance influences in “Lunatic”, mysterious dubstep drops in “Detarame Kidding”, and slow-pace dance sound in “Kamisama Ni Nattahi” and the glorious “Summer Horror Party”. The album’s only missteps are the digitized tracks “Konoyo Loading..” and “Viora”, which just sounds like throw-away numbers that were added at the very last minute, and the “Final Sigma” interlude is a bit unnecessary.

This maybe just your normal compilation of extremely noisy and depthless EDM tracks, but as a collection, Sigma is pretty wicked and a new edge towards the J-Pop scene. But when it comes as a debut album (well, their debut as a publicized group), then Sigma is a sick debut with some four-on-the-floor EDM beats that could easily pass through the Western culture. Fuelled with interesting vocals, songwriting, and production all handled by Reol, Sigma might stand as 2016’s most edgiest and confident Japanese record.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. VIP KID
  2. Give Me a Break! Stop Now
  3. YoiYoi Koron
  4. Konoya Loading…
  5. Re: ~Liam’s favorite~
  6. Lunatic
  7. Kamisama ni Natta Hi
  8. ChiruChiru
  9. Final Sigma
  10. Detarame Kidding
  11. Summer Horror Party
  12. 404 Not Found
  13. Viora

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2 thoughts on “Reol: ‘Sigma’ – Album Review

  1. I just want to know, why you dislike the track Viora, as it is one of my favorites on the album! I can see what you mean about Konoyo Loading, but really I think Viora deserves more credit!
    Anyway, thank you for you great reviews !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think “Viora” is a nice song, don’t get me wrong there. But in comparison to the other tracks on Sigma, I just don’t think it stands out. Yes “Konoya Loading” is random to the record, but that’s a decent track also. I just felt they were a little weaker in compared to other songs here, but it doesn’t mean they’re bad tracks themselves. Nevertheless, thank you for your feedback 🙂

      Like

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