It’s always good to see new artists emerge from various projects and get their individual career to show personality and talent, and while it’s definitely not easy to stand out in the midst of the sea of solo idols and singers, Ayami Muto managed to point everything on her personality and musical influences to deliver a various and personal experience. Ex Karen Girls’ member and Sakura Gakuin leader, after her graduation from the school idol group and the announcement of her solo career last year, Ayami released two cover albums of 80’s successes (her main musical influence) and performed a sold out one-man live show in Shibuya that exposed her personality and talent to the general audience. The following step featuring the warmly welcomed PV for the song Sora released this March gave the lovely girl additional exposure, peaked by the recent release of her first solo album Eien to Shunkan, featuring eight tracks exploring different influences.
Indeed, even though the shortness of the album, there’s a lot to listen and to admire in every single track performed by Ayami, and the opening track Sora is the first demonstration of her great capabilities and solidness of the production team behind her. The track, a Techno-pop piece featuring shiny samples and a futuristic vibe, isn’t anything necessarily innovative or outstanding, but it does its work in delivering the right atmosphere and expose Ayami’s talent so well that it’s hard to not appreciate and to get hooked in it, making it one of the most immediate and convincing tracks on the album. Of course Ayami’s voice isn’t less admirable: Her timbre, cute but not excessively cheesy, fits the song greatly, and while it’s still not powerful enough to generally stand out, her singing ability and versatility to fit every song of this album makes her performance well balanced and pleasant to listen. The second track, Jikan to Iu Wonderland, is the proof of it: Completely different from the previous opening, this track offers 80’s synths and a lovely verse featuring incisive beats perfectly coupled by Ayami’s singing, ending in a catchy and thoughtless chorus. Good work on the bridge as well, a constant of this album, where the structure of the songs is simple yet well developed, guaranteeing an easy listening but not plain at all experience. Irodori no Natsu pretty much follows the same influences of the previous track, adding orchestral sections to it and a lovely singing by Ayami, well balanced and never going too far over her capabilities.
We’re already at half of the album, but here’s where the best comes, because Sakura Romanceis one of the high peaks of this release: A delicate beat and a dreaming melody opens the song and leaves space to the vocals, to then explode in an epic sounding chorus where the atmosphere and vocal expression play the main role and make this track one of the best moments of the album; The alternation of delicate and deep verses and strong chorus is also structurally well developed and intriguing: Definitely a great result.
Toumei Shoujo is the obliged ballad of the album; Not particularly standing out from the instrumental point of view despite the nice melody, this song is at the same time a great showcase of Ayami’s vocal abilities, and the conviction this girl can do great things gets stronger here, thanks to her good technique and expression. The following song, A.Y.M. , is yet another of the best moments of the album; We’re back on Techno-pop side here, and this upbeat track features classy synths, an energetic chorus, and what is definitely the best pre-chorus bridge of the entire album. The bridge could have been instrumentally better and exposed, but still, this is one of the best song of the package and definitely the one you’d want to dance to the most.
Reaching the end of the album we can find the last two tracks, Megami no Suggestion, a joyful track that mixes the already seen 80’s feel with light melodies and synths, probably the most thoughtless but also less impressive track of the album. The last song (also title track) Eien to Shunkan is a synth fest running around the main melody of the track, featuring a convincing beat and the usual good versatility by Ayami, that decently closes the album with a happy vibe: Not impressive as all the rest of the album, but still good.
Eien to Shunkan is a grower: Each song has a different vibe and story, and while this comes at disadvantage to the overall flow and catchiness of the album, most of the tracks are solid and convincing, thanks to the simple yet extremely well developed structure of the songs and the overall good work in the instrumentals. Ayami’s vocal performance is perfectly balanced, and in the technical field she pushes her ability to the right point without exceeding too much, adapting her voice to different styles for a pretty impressive result. Songs like Sora, Jikan to Iu Wonderland, Sakura Romance and A.Y.M. are the high peaks of the album, and alone make the purchase of this album worthy.
Overall, Eien to Shunkan is a surprisingly good album: It’s various, it’s got good instrumentals and, above all, it’s full of Ayami’s personality. This girl took her love and inspiration for 80’s idol pop and mixed it with modern sounds, giving an impressively expressive vocal performance full of passion. Of course there’s still room to improve both for her and the musicians behind the production, and I can’t wait to see what this girl has in store for us while ultimately establishing her style.
Vote: 7.8 / 10
01. Sora (宙)
02. Jikan to Iu Wonderland (時間というWonderland)
03. Irodori no Natsu (彩りの夏)
04. Sakura Romance (桜 ロマンス)
05. Toumei Shoujo (とうめいしょうじょ)
07. Megami no Suggestion (女神のサジェスチョン)
08. Eien to Shunkan (永遠と瞬間)