My thoughts on “G/P”, the first split EP from GO TO THE BEDS and PARADISES.
Release Date: April 1st 2020
1. Don’t go to the bed (GO TO THE BEDS)
2. MAYDAY (GO TO THE BEDS)
3. ANSWER (GO TO THE BEDS)
4. GOOD NIGHT (PARADISES)
5. Yasashii Kaze ni Fukarete (PARADISES)
6. Kimochii Koto Shitai (PARADISES)
7. FALL (Kamiya Saki)
With all of the uncertainty going on in the world currently, everyone is looking for distractions and many turn to their hobbies as the main remedy. Well, if one of your main hobbies is music then that whole deal has kinda gone out the window too as far as concerts, new releases and such are concerned. As if that isn’t bad enough we’ve got WACK over here deciding to add to the confusion and uncertainty with the subject of today’s review.
So, there was some kind of WACK training camp thing a while ago like they tend to do every now and then. From what I could tell there wasn’t a ton of interest in it from the usual suspects, and who could blame anyone for that right now. Well, the main thing that came out of it is that GANG PARADE has been split in two with the result being two new groups in GO TO THE BEDS and PARADISES. I guess they got tired of trying to cram a dozen people onto those small stages. The former appears to contain the more tenured GANG PARADE members and the latter consists of the newer recruits in recent years.
“G/P” is a split EP which is basically serving as both the debut singles for GO TO THE BEDS and PARADISES as well as the graduation single of group leader Kamiya Saki, who gets a solo song all to herself here. Apart from that it’s split nicely down the middle between the two new groups with each getting 3 songs each. Outside of all that though it’s still very much a SCRAMBLES production so you know, is this just a fresh coat of paint on more of the same? It probably is but who knows, maybe they’ll surprise me with a song or two here. Guess there’s only one way to find out for sure.
GO TO THE BEDS are in the lead-off position on this EP, with first track “Don’t go to the bed”. Talk about some mixed messaging there folks, am I right? Things start off in a fairly familiar SCRAMBLES sort of style, with thunderous drumming and distorted guitars being accompanied by screaming synthesizers to create this sort of Industrial feel to the instrumental. The vocals come in fairly intense and dramatic sounding before switching into this sort of rapid fire Rap style which while not being my personal favorite thing ever worked really well here. We then stomp our way quite fiercely towards the song’s first chorus which then takes on most of the usual Matsukuma Kenta hallmarks. Very emotive, melodic stuff with a fairly bland instrumental not trying to do do much to get in the way of things. From there things pretty much reset back to where we started from and then we run through a similar progression and build to the next chorus. Fairly straightforward stuff you have to admit but it’s pretty enjoyable all the same. The breakdown used to bridge into the last part of the track was a pretty cool moment too and I liked the way the song just sort of got snuffed out at the end there. Nothing super groundbreaking here but a fun little thrashy, stompy number to get us going.
“MAYDAY” then calms things down quite considerably, electing to open on some light, ambient style synthesizer that’s supplemented very effectively with some deeper drumbeats. Nice, relaxing stuff and that mood gets carried over for the most part once the song start to move through the gears. Bright synthesizers accompanied by some moodier sounding guitar riffs with a layer of distortion on top is pretty much what we’ve got going on by the time the vocal make their first appearance. They’re very measured in their delivery, not quite a Ballad but not quite melancholic either. Then the song sets off on a journey of solo vocal parts accompanied by a steady, pounding drumbeat that feels like we’re building up to something eventually. Well, turns out it was just more of that same fuzzy Synth Rock style we’d heard earlier, which isn’t a bad thing of course but I kinda felt like maybe there would be a slightly bigger payoff than that. Maybe I just read the mood wrong or something. The build then begins once again and I’m left with a strange sense of déjà vu coming off of the previous track on this EP. This is something a bit different to what you usually hear out of GANG PARADE/WACK/etc but I can’t help but feel like maybe they could have done a little bit more with it.
Closing out the GO TO THE BEDS half of this split EP equation is “ANSWER”. A very bright, bubbly synthesizer melody greets the ears when initially pressing play on this track so we’re certainly getting some nice variety here at least. An upbeat…well, beat I guess joins the party and off we go! The vocals are definitely in a very Ballad-ish style, I think we can all agree on that, but the instrumental does a really nice job of keeping the energy up and everything flowing along at a very pleasing pace. After a very brief moment of calm the song then soars into the first chorus with the vocals dialing up on the emotion behind the delivery of each line to make for a very highly charged atmosphere. Well, it would if not for the rather too upbeat and cheerful sounding instrumental that all of this is being performed over. It’s kind of amusing I won’t lie, this very emotionally charged vocal delivery being accompanied by a nice happy little instrumental. After that we once again sort of just transition back to where things started and “we go again” as the kids say. It’s fine and a very acceptable way to structure a song, but after three of these in a row where the layout of the track is so obvious I do find myself wanting for something that’s perhaps a touch more complex. In a vacuum though these are 3 pretty fun songs and it’s nice to hear SCRAMBLES try something even just a little bit different for a change.
“GOOD NIGHT” kicks off the PARADISES side of this split on a very upbeat sort of note, opting to forgo any sort of fancy opening build-up and instead launch right into the action. The drumbeat sets a lively pace which the noodly guitar riffs do a great job of complimenting and the fairly simple, repeating lyrics are also delivered in a very energetic and bright manner. Things transition into a slightly darker, more bass heavy composition as we get settled in a bit more all while still retaining that bouncy, energetic element that the song opened with. The vocals get a bit lower in tone here too and also become a bit more exaggerated in their delivery which is definitely a holdover from the GANG PARADE…era I guess. It sounds decent enough but stuff like that isn’t really adding a whole lot to a track for me. The more energetic elements are then gradually reintroduced until we roll into the first chorus which just so happens to be pretty much the exact same chunk of instrumental and vocals that this song opened with, how about that? I definitely dig it as it brings a nice positive energy to things and the lyrics are catchy in their simplicity. Then it’s time for another dose of that lower, some would say duller, style before the last 60 seconds or so which is just a bright, energetic party atmosphere. A fun one and dare I say a highlight of the release so far.
We continue on that brighter sort of note with “Yasashii Kaze ni Fukarete”, which has a pretty uplifting sounding opening instrumental with horns and synthesizers doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Sure, there’s a bit of a distortion filter over it all but this is WACK after all and it’s subtle enough to not get in the way too much. All of that makes way for some bright, but still lightly fuzzed, guitar which marks the introduction of the song’s first verses. The vocals are nice and clear with a somewhat sentimental feel to their delivery as their melodies ring out. Definitely sitting quite comfortably in that Ballad sort of range and doing everything that’s being asked of them quite well. The build to the chorus is also very well executed, with the power and emotion behind the vocal delivery being slowly built up over time and the more orchestral angle with the synths and horns being brought back in at just the right moment to really make the most impact. It’s not going to blow your socks off but I can still appreciate when something is done well like it was here. Another run through of the verses follows before a particularly emotional bridge sees the song’s elements all cascade together as it soars towards its conclusion. It’s a Ballad at the end of the day folks, but they’ve done some cool stuff to keep it feeling fresh.
The PARADISES segment of the show ends on “Kimochii Koto Shitai” which is actually kinda interesting in that it’s not something you typically hear out of WACK or even GANG PARADE more specifically all that often. By that I mean this track is pretty Rock focused which probably doesn’t sound that different just reading it like that but the crunchy riffs and thumping drumbeat of the song’s opening instrumental feels kinda fresh in this context. There’s a bit of synth in there too because this is Idol music and there has to be, but it’s subtle and more complimentary than anything. The vocals in the opening verses aren’t really doing it for me though unfortunately, there’s just something about them that’s not meshing with the instrumental. I think it’s a tone thing, well outside of the sugary sweet Denpa style vocals that show up on occasion too anyway. The chorus is a bit more what I’d expect out of a track like this and has some great lines and emotion behind it so definitely some positives to be had there. It’s weird how the song started out on this fairly traditional Rock vibe but over time just kept adding synth-y Pop stuff into the mix and by the end it sort of felt like we’d lost ourselves somewhere along the way. “Pulling in two different directions” is a phrase that springs to mind which is unfortunate because if they’d picked a direction and stuck with it I feel like this would have been a much more well-rounded song than it ended up being.
Closing out the EP and also closing out her career is Kamiya Saki with her solo song “FALL”. It’s an interesting mix of styles and genres, from the perhaps expected Ballad to the more typical WACK style and a whole bunch of other, more subtle ones too. I even picked up a slight hint of Maison book girl along the way too which was pretty neat. This one definitely takes you on a journey, that’s for sure and the way all of these different styles and elements are arranged and flow together is pretty impressive. You’ve got your softer, more emotional moments, your soaring crescendos, blazing guitar riffs and more all wrapped up and packaged into one nice little track. Then of course there are Saki’s vocals which it won’t shock anyone to hear that her performance is as fantastic as it is wide-ranging here. Her delivery and tone adapt to each of the instrumental’s many styles effortlessly and both aspects of the song are of great compliment to the other. Much like the instrumental we have the lower, more introspective notes, the soaring melodies, highly emotionally charged displays and just about everything else apart from maybe the kitchen sink and some death growls or whatever. There’s a lot to digest here in just a little over 5 minutes of track time, but in that time I’d say we got a pretty great distillation of what Kamiya Saki is all about and what made her so special for all of these years. A fitting song to go out on if you ask me.
On the whole “G/P” is a pretty enjoyable release. I think I prefer the GO TO THE BEDS side of the split a bit more than the PARADISES side but both have their highlights and each group appears to have its own sound and musical style that it’s going for which is good. Then of course you have Saki’s graduation solo song which you can’t say anything bad about in the first place but it’s not like you’d even have a reason to anyway because it’s so good. Nice effort from all involved here.
So it’s the end of an era but the start of something new. Who knows how long this two group system is going to last before GANG PARADE is once again a thing, or perhaps this will end up being a permanent solution to a problem I’m not sure really existed in the first place. This is WACK after all so expect the unexpected while hoping to at least have an entertaining soundtrack to accompany all of the madness as it unfolds. It’s sayonara to Saki and time for these two new groups to pick up the baton and run with it for as long and as far as they can.