Two posts right after each other? But of course, as Comiket 79 brings us a lot to show you.
This time we have an album from Liz Triangle, a group that has not yet been featured here yet. Their newest album, Song For You (generally called S4U), was released at C79 last year, December 2010, and as with nearly all of Liz Triangle’s work, it’s just as wonderful as expected.
1. 天地無想 (Original: Catastrophe in Bhava-Agra ~ Wonderful Heaven)
And we begin with the song that is the main reason I got this album in the first place. The song begins with a short, jazzy intro that sounds like it’s warming up to explode any minute, formed by a bass, a couple of drums, and what I assume is a flute. This lasts only a couple of seconds before the real song kicks in with full force, crashing into liveliness with an electric guitar and a keyboard leading the bouncy tune that never abates until the very end of the track. Then come the beautiful vocals of lily-an, easily the best Touhou arrange vocalist I have ever heard. She really puts her soul into each song she sings, pulling you into the emotions of the song and making you feel what she wants you to feel. This song is no different, never losing its energy and tempo, yet always managing to stay interesting and enjoyable throughout. Certainly one of the best songs on the album.
2. Ready Lady Girl (Original: Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea)
Yet another track displaying the upbeat, jazzy style Liz Triangle is known for, and an example of the great variety lily-an’s voice can display. Unlike the first song, this one instantly kicks in with an electric guitar and drums in a somewhat slow yet dramatic introduction, quickly overlaid by energetic trumpets playing the main tune to Chinese Tea. After one last trumpet blare, the song quiets down just a bit, but not enough to lose the energy, as lily-an’s vocals enter the fray, different enough from the first track to almost be considered a separate vocalist. She carries the song for a while as the background builds up slowly, almost imperceptibly, until the trumpets join in once more and blare alongside lily-an’s wonderful voice. Once more the song quiets down just a bit, slowing the tempo just a bit more than last time, enough to let the listener have a short break before the activity crashes in once more and carries the song until the very end.
3. Pori molica C’set la vie (Original: Ghostly Band ~ Phantom Ensemble)
At last, a song to stop me bouncing around in my chair quite so much. The blasted thing was near to breaking after those last two songs.
If you’ve heard Liz Triangle’s Who Killed U.N. Owen? (their fantastic U.N. Owen Was Her? arrange, easily one of their best songs ever), then the vocal style lily-an adapts for this song should be familiar. It comes dangerously close to “annoying loli vocalist” levels, but stops just short and retains her trademark charm. One feature of this song that I didn’t like so much is the layered, distorted timbre modifying lily-an’s voice in certain segments of the track. The intention, I assume, was to be reminiscent of the three Prismriver vocalists whose theme song this is an arrange of, but it just doesn’t sound right. Regardless, the rest of the song where this isn’t such an obvious feature is quite well done and sickeningly cheerful, with a catchy beat and a keyboard and xylophone to bring out the mood. Not one of the best songs on the album, but certainly a well-done piece in its own right.
4. 大切な歴史 (Original: Plain Asia)
I have mixed feelings on this song. It starts out beautifully, with a piano and lily-an’s voice as the sole features of the song. It gradually builds up, and soon we are met with a new player: Peko, who performs the uncommon rap vocals that Liz Triangle occasionally uses in their songs. I never really liked his vocals very much, but for some reason they work surprisingly well in this song, possibly because he performs more actual singing than just rapping here. The song overall is calm and gentle, almost dreamlike by Liz Triangle’s standards, and a welcome contrast to the previous songs that were full of activity and limitless energy. The calming feel continues as we enter one of the highlights of the album…
5. 子守唄-song for you- (Original: Deaf to all but the song)
This song is probably the most beautiful one on the album, using only a piano and lily-an’s vocals for the entire piece. The song begins slowly, the piano playing gently yet significantly, as lily-an’s soothing, melodic vocals flow in not long after. It continues like this for a while, suddenly building up after a while and pausing for a jarring second before reaching a powerful crescendo. The song soon calms itself again, however, quieting down and returning to its previous gentleness. Then another rise and pause, and the chorus kicks in once more with all the power it had the first time. This time around it doesn’t suppress itself, however, going on until it nearly reaches the end, where it slowly smooths out and ends on a gentle note. If you have to listen to one song on this album, it would have to be this one. Words just aren’t good enough.
6. 命の降る郷 (Original: Oriental Memory of Forgathering Dream (Arrange))
And we end on a note much like that which we began with, with a soothing, oriental introduction to ease us away from the previous track into the lively energy that will carry us to the end. This song had me back to bobbing along with the tune, and it’s easy to see why. With the lively beat, strumming guitar, occasional background violin, bouncing piano, and of course lily-an’s beautiful vocals, it’s hard not to want to act out the party shown by this track. It dips and weaves in and out of activity multiple times, and just when you think it’s going to end on a relaxed note, the energy kicks in once more to have a final word. A fitting end for this album.
As usual, Liz Triangle brings out several lively, jazzy songs that characterize their style. The album is unfortunately lacking in the orchestral masterpieces that occasionally pepper their albums (such as RIA, Who Killed U.N. Owen?, and Messiah), but for the most part the tracks displayed have such a lively variety that you almost forget about that. Liz Triangle may not be improving, but they certainly haven’t lost their touch.