released 2011, universal music japan.
We were still in the midst of the Japanese electro boom in 2011, LIL’s poptronic opus 『Synchronize』and capsule’s club-tastic 『World of Fantasy』were fresh in our heads, and near the end of the year, a trio of artists collaborated to give us a one off album that remains on my playlists to this day. galaxias! were a unit comprising of singer Kou Shibasaki (of Battle Royale and various j-pop fame), vocaloid virtuoso DECO*27 and TeddyLoid fresh off of his Panty & Stocking breakthrough. But what did I think of the only (self titled) album this supergroup gave us?
We’re treated to an atmospheric introduction with 『ENTRY』that sets the tone for the opening section of the album, and 『CONNECTION』delivers the moodiness up until the minute mark, where it bursts into an upbeat retro pop number (a sound that will be uniform for this set of cuts, not to its detriment in any way however!) and stays smooth to the end.
The rest of the first half stays relatively fun and fresh, especially the title track, its twinkly synths and funky basslines beef up the arrangement and Kou’s vocoded harmonies and ad-libs get their time to shine. 『Iny』in particular stands out as a gritty alt-rock inspired track on an otherwise electro pop based record. I can’t get enough of that deep bass synth that lies underneath the mix.
The happy vibes are put on hold when interlude 『ESCAPE FROM THE HOPELESS FUTURE』and its attached track『FUTURE』kick off the second side of the album. TeddyLoid’s production is front and center in these songs, combining symphonic strings with aggressive dubstep and lots of processing on Kou’s already processed vocals. I’ve gotta admit though, the whispered “Revolt, we are the future” before the drop hits is a KILLER moment and still gives me the goosebumps listening at full volume!
While I still really enjoy 『J.A.N.』, it kind of feels like a retread of the superior 『Iny』we just heard about 3 tracks ago. The only distinguishing features are the rap-like verses, but the repetitive chorus hurts it a bit too. There’s such a strong selection of songs on this album, that this one only feels weak because it doesn’t stand out enough.
The last full song on 『galaxias!』is 『Little Stars』and they really go all out, it’s a fantastic mishmash of the two defined styles in the album. The electronic pop goodness marries the groovy rock for a unity so good it’ll make your ears cry. This one usually forces my hand to hit Repeat 1 every time I come back to this LP.
『EMERGENCY』ends galaxias! on an almost bittersweet note, as back then I honestly thought they’d stick around for at least an EP or another single but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Even so, we should be grateful that this unit was formed and that we even got this LP, because nearly 8 years on it still sounds brilliant and modern. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that they’ll gather for tea and throw galaxias 2! at us…..maybe one day. Now to get started on individual ratings!
- ENTRY (N/A, intro)
- CONNECTION ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Boys & Girls ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- galaxias! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Iny ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- ESCAPE FROM THE HOPELESS FUTURE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- FUTURE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- J.A.N. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Little Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- EMERGENCY (N/A, outro)
Must Listen: galaxias!, FUTURE, Little Stars
Skip : (honestly none but if I had to pick, J.A.N.)
You can purchase 『galaxias!』on Amazon.