My thoughts on “Hugdreamy Horoscope”, the first album from Seireki13ya.
Release Date: November 27th 2019
1. Oyasumi Mirai to Koiotome
2. Vanilla Drops
3. Yoru no Kuni
4. Uso wa Yoru ni Tokete
5. The Gift of Nothing
6. horoscoplot (sr13y edit)
7. Aishi Utakata to
10. Yocto Asterism
The past year has been a pretty interesting time for codomomental and its associated groups. As always there were many trials and tribulations but everyone soldiered on and as a new year is just beginning, all of their Idol groups somehow appear to be in pretty decent shape. The only real problem I have right now is that I’m currently in the middle of rerecorded album(s) hell with each of the groups releasing one or more albums full of old material that has been reworked with their new line-ups. I’m not a fan and would rather get new songs, but I get why they need to do it.
Seireki13ya have definitely been the least affected by the turbulence of 2019, pretty much entirely due to the fact that the group is still so new in relative terms. I’m sure they’ll face their fair share of hardships in the next year or two but this past year has just been focusing on building the group up and getting a bunch of music out there for people to listen to. They’ve still got a ways to go to get on the level of their sister groups but the groundwork has been laid for them to get there in due time.
What better way to close out 2019 though than by releasing your debut album? That’s what Seireki have done here and if you haven’t taken the plunge with them yet then this is the perfect jumping off point for you to do so. It features all of their big songs as well as quite a few new ones to keep people like me quiet. I’m kinda still waiting for that one song from this group to come along and really blow my hair back but maybe it’s featured on this album somewhere. The only way I’m going to find out is by getting this review started so let’s do that right now.
The album starts off on a familiar note, with “Oyasumi Mirai to Koiotome” in the lead-off position. This was Seireki’s debut single and it only actually came out in January of 2019 so it isn’t even that old yet. I reviewed it around the time that the single came out and you can read my initial thoughts here if you’d like. It’s somewhat different to the typical codomomental stuff that they’re putting out these days, but then so are Seireki in a lot of ways so it kinda makes sense now I guess. There is a moderate amount of Zenkimi nods in the song’s sparkly EDM instrumental but said group have been moving away from that sort of style in recent years so I don’t think that there’s too much harm in another group picking up what is a pretty entertaining sound. Vocally things are also kinda similar to Zenkimi in some ways or more specifically the vocal stylings of Yotsu and Mashiro, though again still different enough to the point where you’re not totally thinking that this could be another Zenkimi song. It comes close at times though, don’t get me wrong. codomomental went with what they know and what they’re good at for Seireki’s debut. The result is a catchy, energetic song that is several levels above the sort of thing you’d expect from a debuting group.
Two tracks in and we’re presented with the first brand new song to feature on the album. “Vanilla Drops” as the title kinda gave me the idea of a pretty chill, mellow song before I hit play and well that is pretty much what’s on offer here. The instrumental kind of has this Chillhop vibe to it which is being provided for the most part by the rather nice beat created by the synthesizer melody and drum machine’s combined efforts. I went back and forth in my head a little over whether or not I thought the more ambient synthesizer stuff on the track was too washed out but I think it works fine for the sort of mood I think they’re going for here. It was a thought that entered my head though so I figured I’d bring it up in case anyone else was feeling a similar sort of way. It created a nice backdrop for the more prominent and in my opinion interesting synthesizer parts to do their thing, of which there were quite a few. The vocals featured follow a pretty well loved formula that codomomental have certainly perfected over the years. It makes for a pretty catchy listen with plenty of room for hooks to grab the ears’ attention. It’s really familiar sounding but if it works then it works, right? I did appreciate that they didn’t go too crazy with auto-tune and exaggerated anime voices, though there are elements of that. There’s also some pretty nice cleaner singing too though which is a plus in my book.
Following on from that is another new song in “Yoru no Kuni” so we’re definitely getting a decent mix of old and new material so far on this album. I honestly wasn’t very sure where they were going with this song initially as the opening synthesizer melody was vaguely reminiscent of a Skrillex track before we get a drop of sorts and a muted drumbeat and a repeating synthesizer…starfall (does that make any sense?) become the main focus of the instrumental and this remains the case for a pretty good chunk of the song. Of course the tempo picks up as things progress and we get a bit more depth to the synthesizers once we reach and proceed past the song’s chorus, which was definitely a good move in my opinion, but yeah that falling star effect and the drums are the driving force behind this one for me. Vocally there’s no getting away from the fact that things on this one sound incredibly Zenkimi like. You’ve got the auto-tune, the lyrical structure, though of course the singing tones are different because even if it sounds a heck of a lot like Zenkimi it’s still a totally different group folks. I don’t want to keep comparing them but it’s a thing I have to point out. It doesn’t mean this song isn’t great, it doesn’t mean I don’t really like the beat or the flow of the lyrics and it definitely doesn’t stop it from being one of my favorite Seireki songs to date.
We return to some previously released content with the album’s fourth track “Uso wa Yoru ni Tokete”. This song featured as a b-side on Seireki’s debut single “Oyasumi Mirai to Koiotome” and you can read my initial impressions of it here if you so choose. Certainly not as energetic and hyperactive as many songs in the group’s discography but it’s still an on-theme sparkly EDM affair. There’s some really nice bass on the beat of this song too which was something I enjoyed at the time when it was released and still do now. It does still give me some mild CY8ER vibes too but I can see that being a less than popular opinion so I won’t try to push that idea too much. The vocals match the energy of the instrumental in that they’re still pretty bright with a good energy, it’s just a bit more contained than what we all know the group is capable of. Still a pretty nice performance from all involved and it’s fairly clean too for the most part so if the auto-tune was getting a bit much for you then there’s a bit of a reprieve here. It’s not going to be a song that instantly grabs you, especially in the context of this entire album, but it definitely crept up on me after a few listens so if it can do that to me then I’m sure the rest of you will like it just fine too.
Another previously released song follows, though this one much more recent by comparison. “The Gift of Nothing” played b-side to the group’s second single “Aishi Utakata to” and you can as ever read my initial thoughts on it here if you want to. The Zenkimi comparisons are back folks, I’m sorry to say. Well not that sorry because honestly this song’s instrumental has so much of what I loved about Zenkimi back in the day that it’s pretty much impossible for me not to enjoy it. Undulating synths, sparkly effects, silly audio samples, they’re all still there like they were in my initial review and it’s all still really fun to listen to and fun is what I am here for everybody. Hooks, hooks and more hooks because you can never have enough of them. Even the lyrics are super fun and catchy, as well as sounding a heck of a lot like an old school Zenkimi song too. The chorus is great also, as if there was any doubt that it wouldn’t be on a song like this. I said at the time that this wouldn’t be the worst direction to take Seireki in and in some ways they have gone more down this path but in others they haven’t. That’s probably for the best in the long run as you do want the group to have its own identity and not be a total clone of one of its sisters.
Marking the mid-point of both the album and this review is “horoscoplot (sr13y edit)”. It’s an interlude pretty much because they’re apparently super popular these days on Idol albums for some reason. There isn’t really a ton to talk about, which is usually the case when an interlude doesn’t even crack 2 minutes in length. It’s a nice enough little composition, pretty ambient tones from the synthesizers with a bit of percussion and fuzz to flesh it out some. It fits the tone of the album well enough and it’s not like it’s a chore to listen to or anything like that. Just not really much to write home about either.
After that brief little intermission we return to Seireki’s second single, specifically the a-side and title track “Aishi Utakata to”. You can once again read my initial impressions in the original review here if you’d like. It’s a pretty energetic song with a decent amount of Eurobeat influence, so if that’s something you enjoyed back in the day then there’s a bit of that going on here for you to get all misty eyed over. It doesn’t get super crazy with the idea mind you, which is probably for the best as the verses on this song aren’t exactly the straightforward, easily digestible sort that are a feature of songs in this and related genres. They even struggle a bit to keep up with this comparatively restrained instrumental so again, probably a good call not to go too overboard. You still get a decent amount of personality from the vocals though, by way of auto-tune and some overly exaggerated delivery here and there. I am still left with a vague sense of the lyrics not being super standout though, which is admittedly a rather odd thing to say given everything that I’ve just said previously. The song on the whole is catchy enough, and how could it not be, I just felt like it was missing that little extra punch that could have taken it to the next level. Still enjoyable though, I just feel like there was a bit more room to work with than what they ended up using.
I’m honestly not sure what, if anything, the title of the album’s eighth track “268019” is supposed to be in reference to and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I do either. Answers on a postcard in the comments if you do know though. It’s the longest song on the album at just over 5 minutes and it features an interesting instrumental composition that starts out making you think we might be getting some kind of Digital Hardcore banger but then it stops halfway there. I mean that quite literally, this song has everything but the Hardcore instrumental element. As such, it still ends up being a pretty dense, very raveable Club song with a great beat and a fine selection of the typical synthesizer melodies associate with songs of this genre. The vocals are done well, with varying amounts of auto-tune depending on what the synths are doing at that given moment, but they do feel like they take a back seat at times which I’m never really sure is something that you want to be saying about an Idol song. They’re pleasant enough to listen to and the flow is pretty interesting in places but there’s nothing incredibly standout about them and especially not when you’re comparing to the song’s instrumental. Not bad but yeah, you do kinda feel like this is an album track. At least I did anyway.
We once again cast our minds back into the past for the album’s next song, though not quite as far as we’ve already done previously in this review. “NarcoLepsy” features as the b-side on Seireki’s most recent single “Yocto Asterism”, which we haven’t mentioned at all yet actually, and you can read my review of said single here should you choose. It’s a pretty fitting title for a song that’s rocking a Chillhop instrumental with a bit of a Tropical note to things. Still not a massive fan of the piano they bring in as the song gets going but I think I’m getting used to it a bit more by now. The vocals match the mood of the song pretty well, though the pitch is still a little bit too high for my personal tastes when it comes to this style and the hooks and flow haven’t gotten any less repetitive in the months since my initial review. It does all work out pretty well overall though so I’m likely being a tad harsh in that particular piece of criticism. It’s another song where the instrumental gets quite a lot of attention, which does end up taking away from the vocals a bit but you know what when the instrumental is the fun and enjoyable to listen to I think I can give it a pass this one time. A fairly simple track at its core but we all know how effective that can be by now.
Speaking of “Yocto Asterism”, the album finally gets around to including it right after we just listened to its b-side. An interesting choice in track placement but I don’t think it’s a super big deal at the end of the day. Oh yeah, read my initial thoughts here if you didn’t do that when I was talking about the previous track. The song opens in that glitchy EDM style that was pretty popular for a bit there before settling into something a little less chaotic but still containing some nice energy and a healthy does of intensity. The pounding drumbeat certainly doesn’t hurt either in giving the song a pleasing tempo. You do sort of expect maybe a bit more given how things started off but the instrumental we ended up getting was still pretty enjoyable too. The vocals still feel a bit dull starting out, which is definitely at odds with the instrumental but they pick it up a bit as the song gets its feet fully under itself. The pitch of the chorus still isn’t really my thing and I think there is something to discuss when it comes to mixing vocals so they feel part of the track but also trying not to lose them in the instrumental in the process. This one doesn’t really wow me and there’s plenty of better songs both old and new on this album, I guess it just depends what kind of electronic music you’re into.
The album’s penultimate track is also the first track that Seireki ever released as a group. “Sekaisengoto” was released as a digital single 10 days after the group debuted and offered our first glimpse of what they were going to sound like. I didn’t review it at the time because I’m an idiot but we can do it now since we’re all already here. I’m not going to lie, the opening verses sound incredibly like Zenbu Kimi no Sei da almost to the point where I could probably mistake this as one of their songs. Great energy and flow though, that can’t be argued at all. As the song progresses more tricks are borrowed from the Zenkimi playbook, with mild rap parts and that signature vocal structuring all being used to good effect. The instrumental is an interesting mix of Zenkimi and KAQRIYOTERROR, borrowing the former’s old school, off the wall Denpa sound and mixing in some of the dark, more edgy synthesizer melodies that the latter have perfected into a calling card of sorts at this stage. It’s a fun listen but you can tell this is supposed to be more of a demo tape than a full blown Seireki song. Released at a time when the group was literally just getting going, so the fact that it ended up being a codomomental mixer of sorts isn’t really that surprising in hindsight. Still a fun song and obviously needed included here but I think it’s fair to say Seireki have come quite a ways between that song’s release and now.
Closing out the album is 12th track “NyxNocturne” which is also brand new so it’s pretty cool that we’re ending things off on something fresh. The song gets off to a fairly mellow start with a really great synthesizer melody being one of the key driving forces behind the instrumental early doors. It ends up forming the backbone of the song as things get going too so if you were enjoying those opening moments then I imagine that you’ll be happy to hear that they continue throughout pretty much the entire rest of the song. While it does have its more energetic moments, the instrumental settles in fairly quickly doesn’t try too hard to disrupt the comfortable rhythm that it finds itself in. It worked out pretty well but I would definitely understand if some people were to find it a bit too repetitive at times. The vocals are pretty heavily modulated here which I think might have been a bit over the top given the fairly relaxed nature of things. It works and the resulting melodies are all rather nice but I do sort of wonder how things would sound if they’d left it a bit cleaner. Not overly hook laden but the chorus will get its claws into you eventually and the instrumental is also packing a few for you too. Not really a Ballad in the traditional sense but I think this might be the closest we’re going to come with Seireki.
I quite enjoyed this album actually. There’s quite a lot of “older” material featured so I had a rough idea what to expect coming in but there’s also a decent number of new songs also available should you have been around for a while and were hoping for something new. The overall style of music Seireki are going for isn’t my typical go-to but there’s some pretty interesting stuff going into the instrumentals, the Zenkimi vibe remains and the vocals are nice and catchy with great delivery when the auto-tune isn’t cranked to 11.
As far as rookie years go I think Seireki had a pretty darn good one. They got a lot of music out there for people to listen to and we’re starting to get a pretty good idea of what their core sound is at this point. It’ll be interesting to see how they continue to develop in 2020 as there’s definitely a market for a codomomental group that’s maybe a little less hardcore than the products that are already on offer. I just hope the members don’t start dropping like flies.