Piko

2Piko

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Piko made his name on the internet video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga, recording cover versions of songs created by users of the popular voice synthesizer software Vocaloid; his more-perfect-than-a-machine interpretations brought him instant fame and sparked a bidding war that led to his signing by Sony. His astonishing vocal range (at least three octaves) allows him to produce an uncannily convincing facsimile of a female voice, leading his fans to dub him “Ryouseirui,” literally “both voice types.” This, his second album, plays on this duality more than ever before, with the front and back covers portraying him as angel and devil. An “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” ethos is clearly at work here, so to some extent, this is "1Piko v. 2.0": there’s more of the blistering hard rock that was found on his debut, and more of the sweeping, epic pop. The electronic influence is somewhat more apparent this time around, with trancey synth stabs, squelchy subs and programmed percussion making regular appearances. The chuck-it-all-in-a-blender schizophrenia of visual kei is here in spades and as a result, as always on this kind of album, there are a few tracks which are little more than filler -- the cheesy pop-trance number "Piko Piko Night of Galaxy," for example, is basically the first album's "Piko Piko Legend of the Night" with different lyrics -- but these are more than offset by the best it has to offer. Highlights include "Emiiro Refrain," which is like a sped-up version of a '70s soft rock ballad, all sweeping string arrangements, lush harmonies, and obligatory guitar solo; "Kimi ni Aitakute" ("I Want to See You"), a driving, euphoric rock number with a reach-for-the-sky chorus that sees Piko soaring to the top of his range; "Maker Breaker," darker and fast-paced, with a hypnotic, repeating guitar motif that plugs away in the background, and some superhuman drumming; and "Online," a gorgeous, heart-on-sleeve electro-pop tune that sees Piko grasping for Kaya's crown. The album's final track, "Acid Soul," is also its oddest: its first third is a musical drama/skit with Piko doing some overwrought, funny voices, after which it bursts with a scream into a '70s hard rock/heavy metal number that wouldn't sound out of place on an early Judas Priest album. Overall, this is a very solid and respectable effort from the young singer which is sure to please his fans, and it also acts as an unthreatening entry point into visual kei for fans of J-Pop looking to dip their toes into the harder stuff.

blue highlight denotes track pick