My thoughts on “MythEpoc”, the latest album from Seireki13ya.
Release Date: May 12th 2021
1. Romantic Escape (MythEpoc Ver.)
2. Shilly Shally
3. Baby baby Cupid (MythEpoc Ver.)
4. Noisy Poemy Sweety
5. Night Merry (MythEpoc Ver.)
6. Machibōke hoshi no yume
8. Aiuta Nichiya (MythEpoc Ver.)
10. Neiro nostalgia
11. Blindly Dreamin’ (MythEpoc Ver.)
12. Mata ne (MythEpoc Ver.)
The past year has been something of a roller coaster if you’re a codomomental fan, with all manner of comings and goings, surprise returns, groups disbanding, new projects launching and pretty much everything else in between really. We find ourselves living in some pretty wild time and the Idol scene is mirroring that rather accurately. Still though, codomomental and their various Idol groups and other projects keep on keeping on and though some of the faces might change a lot of what they’re doing has somehow managed to stay the same. Resilience is a very underrated trait and they have a ton of it.
Seireki13ya have in my mind always been the codomomental group with the biggest potential for some real mainstream success. The music, the look and all that kind of stuff really lends itself to drawing in a wide audience and they’re doing pretty well for themselves right now too. Tenure is probably the only thing really stopping them from being as popular as their older sisters in Zenbu Kimi no Sei da at this point and compared to their agency colleagues they’ve managed to maintain a very stable line-up since debuting in late 2018 which certainly doesn’t hurt either.
That being said, Fuwa Akane has departed the group in the last few months and that has facilitated a bit of a rejigging of things as the group set about putting together their second album “MythEpoc” which we’ll be talking about today. A lot of songs had to be re-recorded of course, though I doubt much got changed besides who is singing which line, and the new material has one less voice in the mix too, so it could sound a little bit different to what we’d usually expect. They’ve given us a decent amount of new tracks though and honestly that’s what I’m most interested in here. I’ll still give a recap of what I thought about the previously released stuff but don’t expect anything too crazy because I don’t see much point in retreading old ground. With that out of the way, let’s take a listen and see what Seireki are offering up on their second full-length.
The album open with “Romantic Escape”, which is Seireki’s most recent single that released back in October of 2020 so quite a while ago now actually. You can check out my thoughts on that release here if you would like to and expect to hear that a lot during the course of this article. The track has a very strong anime vibe to it but it is balanced out a bit by some heavier synthesizer parts the more that it develops and after weaving some rather catchy synth melodies into all of that it makes for a pretty well-rounded composition in my opinion. The vocals are pretty sweet and sugary in tone, helped along in a big way by some fairly heavy vocoding in places but it’s being kept under control by the instrumental for the most part so not too many crazy high notes thankfully. The choruses aren’t particularly strong on this one but they’re not unenjoyable by any stretch, I just feel like they might have missed a trick here but what we got is perfectly fine the way it is I suppose. It’s just something I feel like I’ve heard a lot of over the years so the impact wasn’t as great as it could have been. On the whole this is a pretty solid track and positions Seireki rather well to potentially pick up some anime work going forward and that has to be seen as a good thing for them I think.
“Shilly Shally” as a song title just tickles me for some reason and I’m not really sure why. It’s kinda light and fun, which is something that we probably need a bit more of right about now honestly. A pretty energetic, Electronica style instrumental opens things up on this one and has the sort of catchy melody and beat that you’d expect from this style while also hinting that we might be building up to something a bit more as we get deeper into the track. The vocals are once again fairly well vocoded and kind of have this echo-y quality to them which I think actually works rather well with the soft ambience being generated by the instrumental that accompanies them. Things get a bit more intense after a while with the introduction of this sort of glitchy synth beat which added an interesting new dimension to what was a fairly straightforward track up to that point. A bit iffy on some of the vocal treatment when it goes particularly hard in this direction but on the whole pretty good stuff. The lyrics are pretty catchy also and while there might not be a blow away hook there’s plenty of smaller ones that layer together in a very pleasing way. Also of note is the rather wild synthesizer segment in the bridge which sort of came out of nowhere but also somehow doesn’t feel out of place at all either. Sure they kinda threw it in there a bit but it made for a cool moment on what was already a rather enjoyable track so no harm, no foul really.
Another older track features next with Seireki’s second single of 2020 “Baby baby Cupid” making its appearance on the album. Much like the previous one, you can read my initial thoughts on this track here if you would like to do so. I’m still somewhat reminded of CY8ER by the track’s opening, tropical themed synthesizer instrumental and that still isn’t a bad thing either. Throw in a bit of glitch and some Funk and we’re getting a party started here by the sounds of things. It doesn’t last long enough for me though, with the track trending more glitchy once the vocals come in and speaking of which, they’re in that usual Seireki style of vocoding and kinda higher pitched tones which has served the group very well thus far. Catchy lyrics throughout which isn’t a huge surprise when it comes to this group and it helps to smooth out the instrumental a bit too which is cool. We eventually come back around to that tropical style we set out on towards the end of the track where they sort of bring everything together for one last hurrah before the song reaches its inevitable conclusion. It didn’t really play out how I would have hoped it to but still a really fun listen and in yet another style that I can see appealing a pretty large audience, should they get the chance to hear it anyway.
I dunno man, the wordplay on some of these track titles is pretty amusing to me. I mean come on, calling a song “Noisy Poemy Sweety” is kinda funny when you’re reading it out from a tracklist right? Well the instrumental is a bit noisy I’ll give it that, with its sort of City Pop meets Electronica style which proves that you really can take two good things, put them together and have the end result also be a good thing sometimes. Maybe a bit harsh in some areas for me when it comes to the synthesizers but I like the beat and the vibe that this one has going on for the most part. Not really sure that the lyrics are all that poemy, but the vocals have this nice Hip Hop flow to them that obviously pairs well with the chill, smooth feel of the instrumental and this is fairly neat way of doing Chill-Hop when everyone else is also doing it and putting a bit of a different spin on things. It does lean a bit more into the realm of Rap on occasion but mostly just some nice catchy flows to go along with the rather pleasant sounding instrumental. Sweet certainly, but not in an over the top way by any stretch and actually quite “normal” sounding compared to many other entries in the Seireki discography. I enjoyed this one a good bit but if you’re just done with the whole Chill-Hop/Ambient Electronica sort of thing then maybe this won’t be ticking too boxes for you. It’s a popular style right now though, there’s no denying that.
Back onto the previously released material for the album’s fifth track with “Night Merry” joining in on the fun. This track was originally the b-side for Seireki’s Aiuta Nichiya single which came out back in early 2020, and you can read my initial impressions of that release here if you want to. A bit of fuzzy ambience with some Chiptune elements woven into it makes for a pretty interesting start to things before the track settles into a dreamy, Lo-Fi style after a while which is more than alright by me. Over time you get a few more quirky synthesizer parts worked into the composition and the vocals take on a fairly genre appropriate low tone and let Seireki show off a more natural side to their vocal talents which I thought was pretty cool to hear for a change. The choruses take things in a wildly different direction though, with this very bass heavy Tropical style appearing almost out of nowhere to make for some pretty memorable moments, though the vocals do sort of just stay the course in terms of tone and delivery which I kinda get but maybe they could have changed it up a little bit or something somewhere. It did help to tie everything together though so there is that. A bit different from what we’d been hearing from Seireki up until then in their career but now in the context of this album, I’d say this track fits right in.
UK Garage, not a genre of music that I would ever expect to be talking about in relation to an Idol group but well, here we are with “Machibōke hoshi no yume”. Things start off fairly subdued with a repetitive but fairly catchy synthesizer melody backing some pretty standard Seireki style vocals which would honestly have probably been just fine on its own really but clearly the group had other plans for this track. Slowly but surely we’re cranking up the bass and before too long this one turns into what the kids these days refer to as a “banger” I believe. There’s still plenty of Electronica elements going on here too to keep some idea of a theme going but definitely very reminiscent of that 90s UK music scene with the big bass heavy beats, smooth vocal flows and even smoother keyboard melodies. Very unique, perhaps not in a global music sense but definitely when you’re looking at the Japanese Idol scene because I can’t really think of too many groups doing a similar style to this right now and if there are any then there certainly can’t be many of them at least. Give how easy it is to just follow the trends of the day, I think it’s pretty cool that Seireki have decided to put out a track like this as it really does feel like a breath of fresh air even if a lot of the component parts are things that we’ve been hearing plenty of in recent times. There are many different ways to skin a cat folks.
“Face2” gets off to a bit of a slow start but there is a pretty obvious sense of the track building up to something just based purely on how the instrumental is laid out. Still, it’s a pretty chill opener with some nice mellow toned vocals which are kinda giving off a bit of a Ballad vibe but not in the most traditional of senses. I wouldn’t say the build-up leads to the sort of payoff that I was expecting but we do get a bit more intensity to the track I guess so while it does hold onto the majority of what it had been building up there is a change of energy of sorts. Things flow between these notions for much of the track, though a stronger synthesizer melody does make an appearance on occasion to help the chorus section to pop a bit more, something I think the track needed because otherwise it would be a rather sleepy affair even if that is pretty much the mood that they’re going for most of the time here. It’s a nice listen with some enjoyable ambient synthesizer and vocal melodies but it’s never really pushing to be anything more than what it is. Definitely positioned as a Ballad but in Seireki’s own style and I can appreciate that because this is an Idol album at the end of the day, we need tracks like this one included and the group have done a pretty good job of making it interesting instead of going for something more cookie cutter. Hard to argue with anything they’ve done here really.
We circle back to another older track next, with “Aiuta Nichiya” bringing its flurry of synthesizers and pounding EDM style bass to the party that is this album. You can check out my initial thoughts on the single it first released on here if that’s something that interests you. Fairly typical of what you would expect to hear out of Seireki if we’re being honest, and it’s in no way a bad thing in my opinion. Energetic while still kinda mellow, punchy but with some nice piano melodies and some fairly clean but still sorta vocoded vocals to fit the theme that they’re going with. The hooks maybe aren’t grabbing and shaking you by the shirt collar, but the way the track is structured more than makes up for it in the catchiness department. Though I do still maintain that they had a bit more room in the chorus to make things a bit more memorable. I do like the variety of instrumentation for each of the verses though, that was something pretty cool that you don’t hear too often and probably for good reason as I would imagine that it’s rather tricky to pull something like that off while keeping the song sounding like one cohesive thing. A nice mix of subtleties and the more core Seireki sound make for a very entertaining track which shows that there’s still plenty of ways to make songs in this style sound interesting despite how well explored the genres involved are at this point.
“dear” not only has a rather understated title but the track itself also get off to a rather unassuming start too. A light keyboard melody and a fairly low tension beat lay the groundwork for the song and we spend a decent amount of time with this arrangement and some I’d argue even more Ballad inspired vocal work than we heard previously on this release. It’s another one of those subtle build-ups with the track picking up in tempo and bass as we hit the first chorus which has a pretty pleasing beat to it and the lyrics and their delivery are both pleasantly catchy and melodic, two things that Seireki are never really in any danger of not doing very well. They bring things back down a bit coming out of that first chorus, but the track does maintain a bit more of that energy that was introduced and carries it through for the rest of its duration. It started out a bit slow but once everything settled in we’re treated to a nice flowing song with some catchy vocal and instrumental hooks that is all in a style of Synthesizer driven Pop that while fairly inoffensive in nature is sure to have a pretty broad appeal among a general listening audience and given the overtures Seireki have been making towards that more anime song style of late I feel like this is just another step in that direction for them. How it works out in the end remains to be seen but the signs so far seem promising.
It probably says more about me than anything else, but I kinda found the nursery rhyme style percussion of the opening sequence to “Neiro nostalgia” to be a bit on the unsettling side. A bit weird for a Seireki song I’m sure you’ll agree, which makes me wonder if I just read it wrong or if it really is putting across that idea to everyone else. The track then eventually washes out into this really chill, Lo-Fi style with some soft beats and loosely defined synthesizer tones making up a bulk of what’s going on behind the dreamy, fairly heavily vocoded vocal performance from the Seireki girls. Not the most intense or energetic style in the world but there is a sense of something bubbling away there in the background just waiting to burst through and really make a statement. That’s the role of the choruses on this track then, segued into via some rather ear pleasing synthesizer drops, where things really come alive and we get a lot more color and energy on display from pretty much every element of the song. The vocals get a little bit high pitched at times for my personal tastes but they’re trying to keep up with the instrumental so I’m not really sure what else they could have really done I guess. A track that ended up going in a completely different direction than I thought it would but the journey was full of character, interesting melodies and for the most part it’s a fun listen. A good way to end off the new material from this album.
Speaking of which, the album is starting to wind down at this point but there’s still enough room to feature a couple more previously released tracks before we close things out. First up is “Blindly Dreamin'” from Seireki’s “Baby baby Cupid” single (review here) and I liked the City Pop inspired Chill-Hop style of the track at the time it came out and perhaps unsurprisingly I still like it now almost a year later. I still get pretty major CY8ER vibes whenever a group dabbles in this sort of style but given how successful they were in their day I suppose that’s a pretty big compliment in a way here. Vocally we’re very much going with that vocoded style once again but the lyrics have a nice flow to them and a couple of particularly catchy hooks so while I might have preferred a slightly more natural style there’s still plenty for me to enjoy here. I personally think the track really comes into its own when it eventually finds the middle-ground between its two main genres of inspiration and the last 30 or so seconds are a great example of this. It all just comes together really nicely and each component part feels like it’s working together instead of trying to be its own thing. Maybe a bit too much of a CY8ER influence for some but plenty of people will have had no problem enjoying this one so nothing for Seireki to worry about there.
We close out the album with one last track, and it falls to “Mata ne” to do us the honors. This was originally a b-side on Seireki’s “Romantic Escape” single (review here) so still pretty recent in the grand scheme of things. A pretty fitting song title to end on and yeah it’s also pretty fitting as far as the track’s actual content as well. This is very much one of those sentimental Ballad style songs with a whole bunch of piano, symphonic melodies and a pretty clean, natural sounding vocal performance without the usual Seireki bells and whistles attached. To be fair they do add a few elements of their own into the mix with a clap track and drum machine being surprising but welcome inclusions to spice things up just a little bit. I did like that the vocals were how they were here as I don’t think Seireki get as much credit as they should as vocalists due to the myriad of effects and what have you that are usually supplementing their performances but yeah, in case anyone was wondering these girls can sing and they can sing quite well too as we hear on this track. If you’re not really into Ballad style songs then this probably won’t be your thing but I thought it was pretty nice myself and especially now in the context of this album I think it plays and important and very fitting role in everything here.
“MythEpoc” shows a lot of growth from Seireki13ya in the last year and a half or so. I feel they really are starting to figure out just what the group is trying to be and that bodes well for the future as instead of trying a lot of different things they can now perhaps start to focus on developing this sound they’ve been working on and seeing where they can take it from here. Anime tie-ups and all that other fun stuff should probably come along too if that’s an ambition and just pushing more towards the mainstream Idol consciousness seems to be the trajectory that we’re on currently.
What do I know though? I’m just here calling it as I see it. Regardless of all of that, this album is pretty great and I can easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Electronica, Synth Pop, Chill-Hop and other such things mixed in with their Idol/J-Pop sensibilities. I’m looking forward to seeing where Seireki go from here as I really do think they have a high ceiling and I hope they can navigate any rough patches that might come along, though honestly they’re probably with the best agency to facilitate that given past form huh?