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

AllMusic Review by

LC5 was the side project of Miku, who had spent most of his career dressing and singing like a little girl as frontman of phenomenally successful oshare band An Cafe. After that band went on indefinite hiatus and it was announced that he was forming a new group, fans were eager to see what he would come up with next. What they got was strikingly different. Gone were the garishly colored pop-punk and “nyappy” worldview; in came somber, monochrome looks and a slick, polished style of heavily '80s-influenced pop/rock with romantic, sometimes melancholy lyrical content, which saw Miku expanding his vocal range considerably. The album comes racing out of the blocks with the sprightly "Only You (Kimi to no Kizuna)" ("My Bond with You"), which wrongfoots the listener with a downtempo acoustic intro before bursting into a hard-rocking number with shrieking, shredding leads. Much of the album continues in the same vein, and it would be very easy to believe this was the stuff of U.S. radio rock circa 1985, if not for the Japanese vocals and the very modern production. The single "Story," for instance, is an epic power ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on a Tina Turner or Cher record. The album does veer dangerously close to self-parody on occasion, as on the smooth jazz-funk of "Brand New Way," but this is par for the course in this genre. What keeps the listener coming back is not just the catchy hooks -- borrowed liberally from the '80s pop songbook of Thomas Dolby and Hall & Oates -- but the mass of detail: a dense soundfield filled with melodic solos, funk guitar licks, lush pads, and tinkling synth arpeggios. Another of the album's strengths is wrapping clever, tightly composed moments of harmony in layers of filigree, then having them pop up at unusual points in the songs, when you’re least expecting them or just when you think the arrangement is getting stale, as on "Breakthrough." Mainstream visual bands usually go one of two ways -- either they stick rigidly to their own unique style, or they become as generic as humanly possible. There's little original here, but that's part of the reason why this music is so popular and why it sells by the bucketload in Japan. Those who like mainstream VK or '80s pop/rock are likely to love this album; those looking for something more original are advised to look elsewhere.

blue highlight denotes track pick