My thoughts on “No good thing ever dies”, the debut album from Bury.
Release Date: May 22nd 2019
2. Break your wall
3. Meisō shōjo
4. Kimi no tsumasaki
6. I can’t live without you
7. Like a snow
8. Strange Days
I think it’s right about time to review something from a group a lot of you probably aren’t that familiar with. I like to drop these ones on you guys every so often just to keep you on your toes. It also keeps the site content fresh and…forces is too strong a word, so let’s go with “gives me a good excuse” to check out music from groups that might be a bit outside of my expertise. It often has the additional benefit of me discovering something cool that I otherwise might not have heard, which is nice.
Bury occupy a somewhat odd spot in my personal Idol fandom. I’m kinda familiar with who the members are, I know a few of their songs and that’s about as far as I’ve gone. My pal Terry loves them, and I probably turned down about three or more chances to see them when I was last in Japan so they’re definitely not a group I follow super closely but I definitely pay more attention to them than some of the other stuff I’ve reviewed so far in 2019. I have no idea if any of this last paragraph actually made sense, so sorry for rambling if it didn’t.
Getting onto the release itself. “No good thing ever dies” is Bury’s debut album and pretty much their most visible and widely distributed release to date. There’s a few familiar songs in the track listing so I’m not going in totally blind thankfully. That said, I’m expecting a fairly loud and rocking album because that’s Bury’s thing, the last I heard anyway. Idol Rock as a genre can be a bit hit or miss with me as you’re probably aware by now, so let’s see if Bury are crushing baseballs over the center field wall or going down swinging with this release.
If anyone was wondering if the title of this album was a reference to The Shawshank Redemption, then the opening few seconds of…it’s not really a track but I guess more of an intro song “Believer” should give you a fairly clear answer. Save for a guitar riff and a few other little instrumental things, the movie quote is pretty much all we get here. Not something that you would expect to hear as the opening for an Idol album, but I think it’s pretty cool. Maybe you disagree, but at the very least I think we can all agree it’s a unique way to kick things off.
With that out of the way, we move into the actual meat of the album with our first proper song in “Break your wall”. The song gets off to the races with a galloping drumbeat that pretty much serves as the backbone upon which everything else is fleshed out on. It gives the song a fairly fast tempo but not to the point where you would say that things are starting to get out of control. Guitar-wise it’s rather interesting actually in that you (well, I did anyway) get this rather strong feeling of warmth from what is otherwise an execution of a fairly well explored Rock style with a little bit of a Punk edge to it. I’ll be honest, it does drift a little into some muddy territory at times but on the whole it’s good stuff, likely even better when blasted through a venue’s PA system. The vocals sit somewhat low in the mix, so that probably won’t sit well with some of you (heh) but I think the overall quality will probably surprise most people if this is their first time hearing Bury. The chorus does sound a little bit flat on the recording, but I think maybe it’s more suited to a live setting because I definitely hear what they’re going for there. A pretty decent first impression all in all.
We got teased a little bit with the Punk Rock influence in the previous song and well, “Meisō shōjo” just goes all out with the idea and pretty much right out of the gate too. A fairly simple, but very rambunctious guitar riff drives the song for this first segment and does a really good job of setting the tone. The vocals match it well too, with some rapidly delivered but still pretty melodic lines which I thought was pretty cool. Add in a cool sounding guitar solo and some “woah, woahs” for the crowd to get involved with and we’ve got a bit of a party starting up here. The middle of the song slows things down a bit and kind of takes us in a different direction however. The tempo drops and the instrumental makes a bit more room for some solo vocal parts that show off a bit more of what Bury are working with in that department. They continue on in this style for pretty much the rest of the song which I was slightly disappointed by, but I think it probably got a lot more out of the song than sticking with the initial instrumental and lyrical content otherwise would have. I actually found myself really enjoying this one after a couple more listens. Would definitely recommend it.
Bury mellow things out a bit on the album’s fourth track “Kimi no tsumasaki” but still try to stick to the overall Rock theme that they’ve been developing thus far. I’m not really sure of the best way to describe the song, but it’s this sort of melodic Rock song with a few Ballad elements along the way. The instrumental is a bit sentimental sounding but with a pretty upbeat mood being provided by the guitar and drums that comprise it. Definitely not as intense as previous tracks but there’s still a good, albeit more subdued energy behind it although probably not quite as exciting as a result. Though there was a pretty cool guitar solo towards the end there. The vocals pair well with the instrumental, and I’d argue they’re what provide most of the Ballad element to the track. The delivery is very clean for the most part, with a lot of harmonizing and other such singing togetherness. Maybe it’s just me but once again the vocals felt a bit flat in places, even though I get that’s kind of what they were probably going for. It’s something a bit different though, and while this style maybe isn’t my thing personally it shows that Bury aren’t just a one trick pony which is a good thing.
Well, I definitely can’t say I’m a huge fan of the long beep noise at the start of “Attack!!!” but once we get that out of the way the rest of the song is a much more pleasant listening experience. Seriously, a warning to all the headphone users out there. Once again Bury try out some different stuff on this track, to varied degrees of success. The chugging guitar riff that starts off the song is great but just when you think you have an idea of where things are going, the vocals come in and throw a wrench into everything. There’s a Rap-esque flow to the delivery, though it’s by no means smooth, and the girls do show quite a lot of personality in their at times almost sneering singing tone. To confuse things even more, there’s several instances of other genres being pulled in with Alternative Rock and 80s Pop being a couple I personally picked out. I’m struggling with what to make of this song honestly, it’s pretty all over the place with only the opening part of the instrumental really attempting to tie things together. Maybe I need a few more listens but this feel like a real head scratcher to me currently.
Things get back to something resembling a bit more normal on the album’s sixth track “I can’t live without you”. A rather interesting track from a compositional standpoint as the instrumental and the vocals seem to be a little at odds with each other. On the one side you have the instrumental which is a pretty upbeat, energetic Rock piece with a little bit of a Punk nod that isn’t unlike other tracks we’ve heard previously on the album. Then you have the vocals which don’t really meet the energy of the instrumental at all, instead sounding like something you’d be more likely to hear on some kind of sweeping Ballad with pianos, chimes and all that sort of stuff. I feel like it probably isn’t helped by the mixing on this particular track, as the vocals do feel particularly drowned out by everything else going on in this instance. This likely isn’t helped by their fairly light tone and lack of a hook or anything to really help cut through the instrumental that ends up being a much more interesting proposition by comparison. Not really sure what they were going for with this one but I think it missed the mark by quite a bit.
Idol groups seem to have a thing for either very short, or very literal song titles. Track 7 “Like a snow”, at least to me, falls pretty neatly into the latter category. Certainly not packing as much attitude or firepower as some of the other tracks on this album but for what it lacks in those areas it makes up for with this somewhat serene mood and some really great clean vocals. It’s actually rather interesting how they were able to create such a flowing, atmospheric instrumental with what is essentially a Rock composition. Softening up the edges and some muffled distortion goes a long way I suppose. There’s quite a lot going on there too, so plenty to go back multiple times to try and pick out. I also rather liked the instrumental bridge they incorporated into the song as well, though the hi-hats that feature throughout didn’t sound like they were mixed that well to me. Minor stuff admittedly. I did absolutely love the vocals though, a fantastic performance from all of the Bury girls here. Probably the best display of their collective range that we’ve heard so far, some rather nice harmonies, well controlled high notes and just overall great tone for the emotions this song is trying to evoke. Not the biggest earworm ever but hard not to be impressed with this one all the same.
Yeah, that was pretty cool and all but where’s my hype at? On the album’s penultimate track “Strange Days”, that’s where. Bury ramp things back up after we all took a nice little breather on the last track, bringing back the kind of energy and intensity that they were dishing out earlier on this album. This is apparent right from the off as Bury’s rich vocal tones are accompanied by a very catchy guitar riff and backed by a noticeably more uptempo drumbeat that keeps things ticking along at a pleasing pace. The break in the middle of the song sorta comes out of nowhere but it works decently enough, introducing a sort of Glitch element that doesn’t really carry on into the rest of the song for better or worse. The vocals are mixed well with the instrumental, given enough space to do their thing while still sounding like they’re part of the overall composition. They also have quite a few hooks going on so if you were looking for something a little bit more catchy then you should be well catered for here. This is one of Bury’s more well known and popular songs and I think the reasons why come across fairly clearly when put in the context of the rest of this album. Definitely a standout track, highly recommended that you check this one out.
Closing things out is “SPECTRUM”. This is another one of Bury’s more well known songs I suppose, so it would be a little bit weird for them not to have included it here. The opening of the song lulls you into a false sense of security with some fairly light guitar that’s backed by a field recording of a stream or river by the sound of things. Nice and pleasant, then the actual song begins and we get a little bit more energetic and lively. The instrumental sits somewhere in the middle of the Punk spectrum, not totally wild and out of control but a bit more melodic in nature and lighter in tone. It still has that Punk pacing and energy though, and this song needs it because it’s short even if you include the fairly long intro. The vocals match what the instrumental is bringing to the party, being rather melodic but with a little bit of that Punk attitude to give them more of an edge in places. That being said, the chorus on this song is a little bit flat to me once again. I don’t think it’s that much to do with the lyrical content and more that the vocals lose definition when all of the girls are singing together. It’s still a really good song, but it’s a thought I had while listening to it and that’s what you guys are here for, right?
“No good thing ever dies” is a pretty strong debut from Bury and as the group’s first widely released CD it should get a few more people talking about them, both in the West and in Japan. There’s a few blemishes here and there, which is to be expected but should be pretty easy to overlook for the most part as I’m sure most of you aren’t anywhere near as picky as I am. That said, they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel but if you’re looking for a fun Idol Rock album to check out then I think you’ll like what’s on offer here.
I enjoyed a lot of the what I heard here and I believe Bury might have a few other songs in the tank, so hopefully those might see the light of day in a studio capacity at some point. Unfortunately they did just recently lose a member so I suppose everything is up in the air right now. I definitely need to check them out live when I’m back over in Japan later in the year though, because I feel like that’s probably going to be an ever better way to experience a lot of these songs. I’ll just have to make do with the CD for now, and I’d encourage you all to give it a spin and see what you think.