Fans of female-fronted electronic, pop and rock music should rejoice alike - A review of Fruitpochette's ''The Crest of Evil''
Fruitpochette is a band that is rightfully associated to the trendy new kawaii metal genre which combines a multitude of genre influences and especially idol pop music with different metal genres by adding eccetric stylistics and vivid dance choreographies. The band consists of dancers and singers Mina Teratani and Shiori Azuma. The two young women are supported by a multitude of different designers, engineers, producers and musicians. One thing that doesn't make much sense is to compare the band to genre leaders Babymetal. First of all, Fruitpochette were already older teenagers when they started to record their first singles and are now in their early twenties compared to Babymetal who started much earlier and were involved in idol groups since they were little kids. Secondly, Fruitpochette sound much more mature. The two singers sound like young women and perform rather skilled vocals while Babymetal always had a more childish and overtly vivid touch. Thirdly, Fruitpochette have a much more homogenous style compared to Babymetal's eclectic genre mixtures. Fruitpochette play electronic rock music. Some songs have a more industrial and darkwave vibe that should please to gothics. Other tracks are much more positive and quite fast with clear influences of the power metal genre. The calmer tunes are clearly influenced by Japanese pop music. Perhaps it's because of the bands more coherent style that they are famous in Japan but not yet in the rest of the world compared to Babymetal's provocatively eclectic style that created a new subgenre and revolutionized both exchangeable idol pop music and a heavy metal scene that desperately needs new inspiration in the wake of many veteran bands that are about to retire.
After a debut EP released in 2013 and two more singles from 2014, the project's first full length release ''The Crest of Evil'' was released in early 2015. The great thing about all these releases is that each includes exclusive and brand new material. This record features thirteen fresh tracks with a perfect running time of fifty-five minutes. While the band's music, live shows and video clips are spectacular, the cover artwork and booklet of this release are cool but simple. What matters here is the music and nothing else.
The album opens with a bang in form of ''灼熱-Drop-", a danceable up-tempo track with loud keyboard sounds, thunderous drums and thick riffs. Even before the first verse kicks in, this track inspires fans to dance and jump around. The mixture of charming, grounded and powerful vocals on one side and eccentric musicianship including different sound effects but also a short and sweet guitar solo works rather well. It shows the band's more balanced and mature approach to music without sounding predictable or repetitive. This opener is an instant hit and if you like this tune, you will adore the entire record. A similar smash hit is ''偉人-CleverDick-'' that combines powerful heavy riffs with stylish jazzy undertones in an up-tempo pop track. Everything about this song is dynamic, enthusiastic and memorable. This is probably the biggest hit on the entire release.
Still, Fruitpochette offer much more than fast electronic rock music with occasional industrial metal tones where they might though convince us most. "蒼天-Paradox-'' is an up-tempo power metal track with great guitar harmonies and solos recalling female-fronted metal bands like Aldious, Cyntia or Mary's Blood but also different European power metal bands from Stratovarius to DragonForce. "闇-Happiness-" is another example for this style and is indeed the track with the most positive vibes on the entire record which is best enjoyed in small but efficient doses.
The band also offers a few more agressive and sinister songs from an instrumental point of view while the catchy, charming and energizing vocal lines always sound somewhat homogeneous. The brutal verses of "撃攘-Advance-" recall melodic death metal bands from Children of Bodom to In Flames and add some welcome oomph. ''殲滅-Effect-'' is probably the darkest track on the record and features not only heavier riffs but also a haunting vintage piano sound in the middle section that should convince gothic rock fans.
On the other side, ''饒舌-DieOut-'' relies much more on the electronic elements and also recalls some French folk instruments in the introduction. This song could almost come from David Guetta and has a lot of hit potential. This track feels like a mixture of Deathstars and In-Grid and even if that music usually isn't exactly my cup of tea, I like the energy of this particular track. "落花-Deadly-" is a similar example with its numbing trance sounds recalling artists like Robert Miles.
With the calm and sweet ''堕天使-Repose-'' that is carried by catchy acoustic guitars and more feminine vocals, Fruitpochette prove that they don't need to speed things up to convince. The song is just below two minutes and concludes right before it could become too cute.
The album manages to end with a bang in form of the elegant and epic ''静寂-Lacus-'' that includes more symphonic elements than usual and reminds me of Versailles. Aside from the classical vibes, the diversified vocal performances are among the most convincing here. This is the only point where Babymetal finally comes to mind since their latest studio album also ended in such an epic way.
In the end, Fruitpochette deliver a balanced, dynamic and entertaining first studio effort meandering somewhere between electronic rock and occasional up-tempo metal vibes. At least half of the album consists of instant smash hits and the clever song writing clearly deserves more attention, praise and success. The only thing the band could do better is to contrast the two vocalists a little bit better since they end up sounding too similar in many songs. I would warmly recommend this album to fans of female-fronted electronic, pop and rock music with a commercial yet energizing touch.
Final verdict: 85%« Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Day OneFans of female-fronted electronic, pop and rock music should rejoice alike - A review of Fruitpochette's ''The Crest of Evil'' »
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