My thoughts on “Moonlight Theater”, the first single from misola de edison.
Release Date: June 7th 2021
2. Moonlight Theater
3. Phantom Marriage
4. Doppel Doppel
5. Wonder Gate
Time moves quickly in the world of Idol, something that anyone who has been following along with the scene for any amount of time has no doubt learned by now. Groups can appear in an instant and then be gone just as quickly, members being one “Regarding X” tweet away from disappearing and never being heard from again and other such examples. It isn’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure and people either learn to adapt to it or they probably burn out and go invest their time into something a bit more steady…like stamp collecting or something.
We’ve talked about misola de edison before on the site with me taking a look at their “SIN” digital single and having a pretty decent time with it when all was said and done. I resolved to check out more of their material and I did hear a few other tracks that I liked but then I guess I lost track of time and now the group is having a soft reboot with an entirely new line-up or something? I guess the former members were just some of the many casualties of the start of a new financial year in Japan and whatever we’re about to listen to today is what lies in store next for the group.
So yeah, 4 new members for misola de edison and a new single in the form of “Moonlight Theater” to introduce them all to us. 6 tracks are included, some of which have been floating around in different guises for a year or more at this point but this is a new start for everyone involved here so I’ll do my best to treat it like that. The concept is still roughly the same with the group focusing on storytelling with their lyrics and fantasy seems to be a theme based on the promotional pitches I’ve read so I guess we’ll just have to see how that translates when they put it on tape. Let’s do just that now then shall we? I’m interested to hear where this new journey will take us.
Opening things up we have “Josō”, which much like the title implies is an intro track to hopefully set some things up and give as a hint of what we can expect as we get further into the single here. Lots of piano melodies going on which is nice to hear as far as I’m concerned and there’s certainly a fantasy element involved too so pretty much what you’d probably expect if you’d done a bit of research before pressing play like I did. A drumbeat and some synthesizers are brought in to build up the tempo and add some tension and it creates a nice balance between the modern and the more traditional musical ideals. The only vocals to speak of are right at the beginning and are more to say the show is about to start than anything else as best I can tell. It’s an intro track folks, it does what it does and it does it well.
Up next we have the single’s title track “Moonlight Theater” which carries on that fantasy vibe that was already going on and injects it into a very bright, uptempo synthesizer driven instrumental which is bringing all of the catchy little melodies and infectious beats to the party. Again an interesting mix of the modern with the more traditional but the balance struck here really does work and the piano melodies and the electronics all compliment each other incredibly well. The vocals are offering a slightly deeper tone in the verses to sort of offset some of the brighter instrumentation and the performances from all of the members are very powerful and the lyrics being sung are pretty catchy too after a few listens. These girls can definitely sing, that’s for sure. The choruses though aren’t really my cup of tea personally, I just feel like everything gets a bit too bright and busy and the vocals are pushing hard in that direction too so it’s all a bit overwhelming to me, though I know this particular style is popular and has been done so many times over the years it really isn’t anything new at this point. It just isn’t really for me, though I get what they’re going for at least. I’m loving everything else about the track though, especially the Gothic undertones that it has going on. A great second first impression so far!
“Phantom Marriage” takes a little bit of time to wrap your head around, it did for me at least, due to the instrumental’s glitchy, Funk-ish Swing inspiration. That looks like complete word salad I know but there’s quite a lot going on so like I said, it took me a little bit of time to appreciate what was going on here. The track has great energy and the pounding beat that’s attempting to keep everything in sync is also very pleasing to the ear with its deep, full tones. Lots of great little melodies going on too, several of which are coming from the vocals which are pretty “normal” in comparison to everything else going on here I suppose. There’s a bit of an edge to them to help cut through it all which I thought that was an appropriate choice and the way everything is structured makes for some pretty catchy hooks as well. The choruses are pretty bright both in terms of the instrumental as well as the vocals which definitely lifts the mood a little bit and the lyrics are decently catchy as well but I don’t know, I’m not exactly being blown away by them. They’re very solid and more than capable at what they’re asked to do but yeah it just doesn’t feel quite as flashy as a lot of the other stuff going on with the song which I guess could be a good thing too depending on how you want to look at it. While I might have preferred something a bit more standout, this is still a very enjoyable track and brings something a bit different to the table while still keeping with the theme that’s being developed here.
I was expecting a slightly “harder” composition out of “Doppel Doppel” given how distorted and Metalcore the vocals were sounding early on but they kept things very electronic based and kinda Gothic with the synthesizers and piano that did end up making up some of the more memorable moments instrumentally on this one. Again, a theme being carried over from track to track but in a subtle way and adding something different to it each time which is cool. By the time things really got going here the vocals had settled into something of a Ballad-y style I suppose but pretty heavy on the power and emotion being put into the lyrics being sung so by no means a dull affair that much is for certain. Things are kept interesting with short little runs and flairs along the way as well to give some variety to what the ears are hearing and keeping that energy topped up rather effectively. All the while being backed by an instrumental bringing in all manner of synthesizer melodies, piano, guitar and another rather pleasing beat to underpin it all. The choruses are a bit more lively on this one as well, though still very bright both vocally and instrumentally which is something I do struggle with a bit if you couldn’t tell by now, that said there’s a couple of really nice hooks and while the instrumental doesn’t really head off in a new direction, the change in tone and tempo is very effective at painting some slightly different colors onto this already rather vibrant canvas.
I’m not really sure why, but I kinda thought that “Wonder Gate” might have ended up sounding very Poppy and by the numbers. It must be something about the title being words that crop up in song names from more “traditional” groups but yeah, don’t know where that came from. Indeed, the track is very far from that with its distorted synthesizers, crunchy guitars, intense drumming and once again a bit of Gothic sounding piano to keep that little thread going. You have to appreciate subtleties like that folks, it’s what makes paying attention to it all worth it. The vocals also come out of the corner swinging with the sort of intense, personality forward performance that you need to compete with the style of instrumental that they’ve gone with here and all of the misola de edison members more than hold their own in that regard. Things do get a bit too out of control at times though I have to say, as it is a bit difficult to keep up with everything going on when it all starts to converge together in certain places. They do try to smooth it out with some quieter parts and a few interesting transitions though so full marks for creativity in that respect. I suppose in the end I’m a bit torn on this one as I do really like a lot of what’s going on but a part of me does kinda wonder if maybe it’s a case of there being just a bit too much of a good thing(s) here. Probably a few more listens required on my part but I’m generally pretty positive on this track and would encourage you guys to check it out for yourselves to see what I’m talking about.
Closing out the release is “Kokorokokonoka”, which is a bit of a mouthful as I’m sure you can probably imagine just by reading it on your screen. We didn’t really get the typical Ballad that usually comes along on this length of release so it wouldn’t have surprised me to see it show up here. It kinda does in a way I suppose as that’s definitely the sort of style that the vocals appear to be going for at least and all things considered they do a very good job of delivering exactly the sort of performance you would expect given the style. The instrumental is a bit more interesting with the added symphonic dynamic to its base Soft Rock style, nothing too revolutionary or anything like that but enough to keep the ears interested trying to pick out all of the background melodies that are going on and what have you. It does build up a bit more steam towards the end too which was certainly appreciated and the vocals also adapted to match so it finished on a bit more of a lively note at least. Choruses were pretty much what you’d expect here too, the melodies soar a bit, the instrumental gives off a bit more warmth and just takes on that whole vibe that is pretty much the standard when it comes to setting the tone on songs like this. I liked the little spins they put on things here and there and it’s an enjoyable listen but you do sort of know what you’re getting yourself in for here pretty early with this one so it’s up to you if you think it’s something you’d be interested in or not.
As far as a soft-reboot goes, I’d say that misola de edison have handled everything incredibly well on the music and production side of things. All of the tracks on “Moonlight Theater” are to a high standard, they’re pulling from a lot of different influences that work together and that people already enjoy, the members can all sing very well and the group as a whole has a great look too. Sure there’s a few things I would do differently but then isn’t that always the case? Well worth checking out if anything I said above resonated with you in any way.
While there is no sure recipe for success, misola de edison have re-laid the groundwork here and hopefully the group can push on and start to get a bit more momentum behind it. It’s not that easy of course but there’s definitely a niche here that can be carved out if they get a bit of luck and can keep the line-up issues to a minimum. Who knows though, Idol is unpredictable at the best of times but this is another group that I think I’ll be keeping an eye on here as I’m curious to see where things go for them in the next 6 to 12 months.