On March 27 2009, GWAVE will publish 「ULTRA☆U2」, a 7-track album that so far includes the C75-exclusive「GWAVE 5th Anniversary Festa! 」 single and the song 「GO GO☆ら～びゅ」, but a complete tracklist is set to be released in the coming days. This new album is hailed by GWAVE as the proper follow-up to 2005's fan-favourite 「Ultra:U」, so odds are that the remaining 4 tracks are new songs composed for the occasion. Their official statement reads something like "A taste of the old! An evolution in soundwork! The glamorous first album now becomes part of a series!" Frantic description theirs, exclamation marks mine, excitement shared by all. For now, you can check out a short version of "love-go-round", which is set to become track #2 once the album drops in exactly one month and a half.
Despite U's commitment to making GWAVE a recognized name in the small (but expanding) world of denpa, the publisher has gone on ahead and added a second string to its 萌えの辞儀 (bow of moe). Enter 井上みゆ (INOUE Miyu) and her most recent solo effort 「Love Bullets」, a C75-released denpa album which is being promoted as the first in a series... since volume 2 is already coming out sometime in 2009!!!
Inoue-san's discography includes collaborations with multiple musicians; doreCHU's ave;new project first comes to mind and she also sang with the sweet とろ美... but lately she has been in a pretty solid relationship with someone in particular. Save for a lone exception (track #5 "Tsubasa-Drawing" was written by Famishin), the music on this album comes from 磯村カイ of TONAKAI sound works, a prolific composer who has also contributed two MOSAIC.WAV compositions in the not-so-distant past. Together they form Team LoveBullets, but TONAKAI will probably get its own entry in the future, so we'll leave it at that for now. As far as I can tell, their first collaboration only dates back to September 2008's 「モノモノ☆ダンス Feaver」 [major sic!] so they must have hit it off pretty well given this brand new series that is soon to become two-strong. Let's give the first album a quick review while we're at it.
- マジカワ: 井上みゆ actually possesses a very versatile vocal range (she can rock the hell out) that can definitely be compared to Haruko Momoi's. In fact, this entire song is very reminiscent of UNDER17's work, what with the constant guitar strumming over a pounding beat and plenty of FUWA-FUWA sing alongs. This is not a bad little song, but they actually get much better than this, so it's not the best pick for an opening track.
- ばーん☆まいらぶ: Funky song that incorporates the same intense guitar strumming previously heard, but on top of a much more ardent beat, resulting in a "high tension" song that also has a couple of interesting hooks. Inoue complements the instrumental section with a strong performance, obviously pouring her heart into the delivery. Somehow this song reminds me of the Wild Arms RPG series...
- 1×8 ラブ・バレット(REMIX): Now THIS is where it's motherfucking at! I fell in love with the original back when it appeared on 「2007 2nd Drivers」, but the added insanity and extended intro make this remix the definitive version of one of the most hyperactive denpa tracks ever composed. There's a feeling of PURE VIOLENCE when Miyu-san screams zukyun-kyun and all of the other backup vocals. Kai-san provides an extensive instrumental section that was meticulously crafted and is poised to become a denpa classic. It already is for me, but I urge non-believers to give it a try...
- リフレイン: Now for something a little more laid-back, we have Team LoveBullet doing a mysterious song that could make a good opening theme for an anime series like Cowboy Bebop. Somehow there's something very S.F. or cyberpunk about this song. Decent track that does overstay its welcome by about a minute or so.
- ツバサ・ドローイング: Although GWAVE says this was composed by Famishin, the song is very much in line with what Kai normally writes, so the transition is lost on the oblivious listener (this is a good thing). This is more of a "moe song" than straight up denpa, especially when the small drama part kicks in. The sweet acoustic guitar plays a big part in giving it a warm feel, but ultimately it's Inoue's strong womanly voice that makes for an interesting composition.
- 世界の中心でLOVEをかたるアタシ: This is a new song that was clearly modeled after the highly successful 1×8 ラブ・バレット, with its swift tempo, mildly distorted electric guitar and recurring Famicom-esque arpeggios. There's a part near the end where Miyu screams ridiculously fast, adding to the surreal feel of this song and album. Really good stuff that hopefully sets the pace for things to come!
- Track07: Just a small ending jingle that's already done playing by the time you're finished reading this sentence.
But although it wasn't specifically announced on GWAVE's page, chances are the new 「シスターまじっく！」 eroge opening theme will also be included, which is yet another solid 井上みゆ performance of a strong 磯村カイ composition. The opening video was just released yesterday so feast your eyes on this!