Kinpachi – Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku – Nippon Month

Posted on March 29, 2016

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DSCF0988Another J-Pop album.. well this one I recieved in the mail during last years Nippon Month and I’ve been wanting to review it so badly ever since but I thought I couldn’t give it a fair review, but now when I have given it more time I most certainly feel sure I can do this album right :)

So Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku, also known as Ebichu, is a “little sister” group to Momoiro Clover Z, whatever the fuck that means I have no idea. I hope it doesn’t mean people will think of them as inferior to Momoiro, whom actually is one of my favorite J-Pop bands, but after listening to Kinpachi I think they had to step down from that throne.
Both groups sounds completely different from each other so you can’t really compare them like that, I can only go for what my ears and mind like and for the most of it I find myself enjoying this album much more than any other J-Pop bands I have ever heard.
The group consists of 8 girls, Rika Mayama, Riko Nakayama, Ayaka Yasumoto, Aika Hirota, Mirei Hoshina, Rina Matsuno, Hinata Kashiwagi and Kaho Kobayashi, whom all have their own singing styles, voices and characteristics that makes them both very joyful to listen to and watch live on stage.
When so many singers are involved like for example in AKB, it can be really hard to distinguish one person from another and you easily loses interest to who’s singing and who’s not, but you don’t have that problem with Ebichu since all of these girls have their unique style and vocal sound and they do a pretty decent job to divide the singing for all of them.
Sometimes someone gets left behind and doesn’t get much room on some songs, but for the most part it works out pretty well but I have to say that Riko Nakayama (whom btw Kinpachi is her first record with Ebichu along with Kaho Kobayashi) doesn’t get as much space as I would like to, since she’s my favorite of them.

So what kind of music is Kinpachi actually? Saying J-Pop is an easy escape as with many of these groups, but I can at least say that this record is very varied (also like many others) and contains songs from Rock to Metal and Synthpop-stylish and Dance/Trance stuff, and maybe the coolest thing of all is that some songs takes inspiration and direct pieces from classical music like Beethoven for example. And I have never heard such a band/group take inspirations from such historical music, really great stuff :)
The single “Haitateki!” opens up with an intro taken from Ode To Joy and later becomes the fucking awesome Metal/Rock-stylish song that probably most of you guys and girls who are reading this have already heard. If you are new to Ebichu or only wants to hear one song, this is the one to go for without a doubt.
The song is also well divided between all the girls though Riko Nakayama gets more space here, and she does a really good job one of her best performances!

Another great highlight one must not miss out on, is the brilliant “ちちんぷい“, or “Chichinpui”, which is some really great crazy shit.
It is a great blend of Dance/Trance music and Rock/Metal with a great melody, and is overall very uplifting to it’s sound.
This song really is everything that this group stands for and really shows why it works to have 8 different girls singing as they all sing small parts here and there , giving the song a unique style were you have around 6 girls singing one pretty short verse.
Now that’s amazing to pull something like that off and not having it sound like shit.
I also have to give some extra cred to Ayaka Yasumoto, Aika Hirota, Kaho Kobayashi and Riko Nakayama for basically stealing this song from everyone else in the group.
The album doesn’t slow down after this masterpiece either, as “U.B.U.” does almost the same thing but has a totally different style to it. And yes, I know that this song along with “Mikakunin Chūgakusei X” has been released before, but with different line ups. The versions featured here should be re-recordings but that’s just horse shit, the only thing different is that they added Kobayashi and Nakayama to replace the former members who originally did these songs.
Anyway, U.B.U. is just a fantastic uplifting song that shows the group having fun and some great chemistry between each other, which of course works better live but it really shows here.

Then the album decides to slow down a bit with the epic ballad-kinda-thingie “Fuyukoi”, which is just straight forward beautiful with everyone doing their part (ha, Starship Troopers reference) and is the only song on the album that could qualify as a ballad I believe?
There is a fantasic live version of this song circling around the internet, so if you can find it I really recommend you watch it :)
And the last song I wanna touch on that is really good is “Shiawase no Harigami wa Itsumo Senaka ni” which allowes the listeners to sit back and relax after all the great up-tempo songs featured before on this album, and am I hearing right.. are they trying to do some made up wannabe yodeling? Very unique way to go and one of the reasons why I love this group, as they do all these kind of strange things and takes influences from basically everywhere and somehow makes it sound great.
I know that MrRantingRandy on Youtube didn’t like this song, why I have no idea because it’s really nice and relaxing :)

There are of course other great songs here like “Butterfly Effect” and already mentioned “Mikakunin Chūgakusei X” for example.. the whole album is very strong but these are the once I wanted to touch on as they stand out and really shows the quality of Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku’s music and how great these young girls are at what they do.
They deserve more credit and recognition!
I haven’t listen much to their previous album Chunin though I have heard great things about it, but for me Kinpachi is WAY better than anything I have heard from Chunin.
It’s interesting to see how peoples opinons are so different, as MrRantingRandy feels the complete opposite here and like Chunin much better.
But anyway..
So should you give Kinpachi a listen? Hell yeah, you should go out and buy it at once if you like this kind of music.
It is seriously one of the best and most creative J-Pop albums I have ever heard, and everytime I put it on I get amazed about how great this group really is.

There should be a new album coming up soon by Ebichu called “Anarchy and I just can’t fucking wait for that to land :)
But can they top Kinpachi? Let’s just wait and see :)

9/10

Photo: Robin Renmark

 

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Posted in: Övrigt