UVERworld

Awakeve

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

With three albums under their belt, Uverworld have firmly established themselves in the top league of J-rock, which doesn't make their life any easier. The label management expects the same commercial performance (all of their previous records have gone gold in Japan), the fans demand more, and the critics point out that the music can be repetitive and wonder if the band is simply rehashing its own hits without the spark it used to have. Add the group's own obvious desire to push the envelope somewhat, and you get a set of goals that is impossible to meet in its entirety -- but Uverworld certainly win bonus point for trying. Awakeve shows no radical paradigm shifts -- it's still the same melodic punk/industrialized rock hybrid, complete with big choruses, synths tinkling in the depths of the mix, and the heartfelt, slightly emo vocals. This is the same old story, but to improve its quality, Uverworld went for denser arrangements and more elaborate songwriting -- they were never ones to drone from verse to chorus on two simple riffs, but this time there's even more than usual going on within the songs. Some tricks are pushed to the forefront, such as the choir in "I Am Riri," the acoustic parts in "Gekidou" and "Mikageishi," or the handclaps in "99-100 Damashi no Tetsu" (those evoke Avril Lavigne's "The Best Damn Thing," but still work). Others aren't as obvious: there's more development of melody, more interlaying textures, simply put, more parts to the songs. More often than not, Uverworld manage to keep it intelligible and catchy, as well as fit for multiple listens, but occasionally the songs get too convoluted, and, on the other hand, mind-numbingly generic from time to time, especially in the vocal lines. But luckily, the good songs here are really good, making Awakeve Uverworld's most mature, professional, and complex album to date, even if it's not perfect