Every Little Thing

Door

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Ten years in and J-pop group Every Little Thing is continuing to develop and explore new styles for their overall sound with Door. Lead singer Kaori Mochida has developed her sound over the years into a more mature format, leaving behind some of the overly sugary vocals that characterized so much J-pop. The album opens innocently enough, moving into a relatively standard J-pop anthem in "Masaka no Telepathy" (though there are hints of a slight Billy Joel influence in the opening piano chords). With "Kirameki Hour," the tone starts to move a little away from the standard J-pop canon. The key feature in that movement, though, is the development of some more interesting melodic lines and some swooping vocals from Mochida. The group progresses through a vibraphone-heavy track in "Paris no Musume" and a traditional piece in "Sakurabito" (though again, Mochida saves the track from mediocrity with some interesting vocal techniques). A strange '80s synth route is taken in "Wonderland," and a Noriyuki Makihara classic is given a new format (with Makihara providing the backing vocals, no less). "Neroli" is an outstanding track, not entirely in the realm of pop, but still straddling the line with progressive rock, and "Karakara" goes into a full island-vibed theme, complete with steel drum accentuations. A couple of basic ballads round out the penultimate section, with the album finishing on the more contemplative "Ophelia_act2," a remake of an instrumental piece provided as a B-side on an earlier single. Every Little Thing went an exploratory route for Door, and it shows clearly. Door is somewhat scattered, touching on basic pop, rock, ambient electronica, reggae, and much more, but never quite tying the various threads together in a convincing way. Mochida's vocals save the day more than once, providing an allure to the music that may not have been there otherwise. But still, the music never quite collects enough for a single listening experience. Fans of Every Little Thing should indeed be thrilled to hear the results of their experimentation, and individually, those results are adequate enough. Newcomers to the group, however, should look for their previous albums as a primer before falling headfirst into the vortex of Door.