Aya Kimiki – EvilAlive

Aya Kimiki – EvilAlive - 3/5

Downloaded on a whim (quite a lot of my music seems to have arrived that way of late) and looking for little more than something catchy with more of a rock backing than many of the J-pop artists seem to prefer, and on many levels this seems to supply just that. Indeed, from the right angle she would seem almost perfect; vocally she manages a range that puts others to shame (and is not afraid to use it), her vocals haven't seen much in the way of production work gone on it and the natural vibrato is left untouched. The backing involves an array of keyboard intros, melodic solo's and as many as three overlayed guitar lines, the drums providing their own fills if never given the body of attention and played as mechanically as a drum machine, and it doesn't take long before you find yourself happily humming along to the tunes.

And it'll be even quicker that you forget how that tune went. At less than half an hour long, she couldn't muster up a single track that I could remember for longer than five minutes, which might work for prolonging its appeal if it didn't all come flooding back the second it kicks off again. It's not electronic in the tracks conceptions but between the twanging guitars, mechanical drums and repetitive keyboards you could at times be forgiven for making this mistake. And that's not as much a statement about the production work as it is the tracks themselves; it feels soulless and by the numbers, designed to be a quick an easy sell, worked around a catchy vocal line and the rest filled it at the last minute by borderline improvised parts from the studio musicians hired to give her something to sing along to. Technically there's nothing wrong with it; the guitar solos are impressive and her voice is certainly nothing to be sniffed at, its just the songs themselves that suck.

Highlights: EvilAlive, One Week

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