Oomori Seiko – Sennou | ALBUM REVIEW

大森靖子

Release Date: December 3rd
Formats: CD / CD + DVD
Number of Editions (3): Regular Edition (CD only) / Limited Edition type■ (CD + DVD) / Limited Edition type★ (CD + DVD)

While the Japanese Music Industry can surely claim a variousness other markets in the world can only dream of, it’s not a secret that the J-pop/Idol scene, while mostly represented by valid artists, is still full of acts that instead of creating something new or put some personality in their concepts and music just follow the stream of standardized compositions and concepts, something noticeable in the amount of groups easily avoidable during the (still pleasant) search for new artists that can give valid listening sessions to those looking for some new and valid personalities.

Personality is indeed the key word when it comes to artists like Oomori Seiko. After two successful years in the Indie scene where the Koenji-based girl released two albums and several EPs while rocking many underground clubs, she is now releasing her first major album under Avex Trax, and those who thought she might have calmed down a bit after her debut in the mainstream scene were extremely wrong: In Sennou (literally, Brainwashing) Seiko-chan is crazier than ever, and it’s all good as this album probably represents her feelings and personality at its fullest, enhanced now by the chance of exploring and fusing different influences more than before while still maintaining her musical and personal identity intact. Old-time fans of the previous, great albums better be aware: The Seiko we all know, the one recording songs with only her voice and an acoustic guitar, is still present here with tracks like Date wo Yameyouand Noroi ha Mizuiro, but in a drastically minor and less influent way. Instead, Seiko took the above formula and enriched it with an overload of influences that compose a more complex wall of sound, all for the sake of expressing feelings in an even more accurate way while delivering variety and uniqueness, something that can be found in songs like Kisumirumi and in the crazy midst of sounds that isYakiniku Date, with the acoustic guitar fusing with a classy piano and raw electric guitar riffs, for a unique composition that must be listened to fully understand and appreciate, and also a showcase of how this girl is and feels limitless artistically and musically.

Though, the real highlights of this album come in the tracks where Seiko-chan takes distance from her classic formula to show her personality in a different but still somehow familiar way. The first part of the album is the proof of this artistic growth, with songs like the opening Zettai Zetsubou Zekkouchou and Kyuru Kyuru, where pop-rock and punk-ish sonorities play the main role while being teased by electronic bits (a constant of this album) and improbable, thoughtless, but well placed melodies that perfectly flow into these fast catchy tracks where the restless but still adorable singing of Seiko-chan lead the way. This is what this girl can do best after all: Combining completely different influences and make them work together with incredible mastery, and also adapting to them individually like shown in Imitation Girl, an upbeat electronic piece with a catchy chorus as main attraction, resulting in one of the catchiest compositions of the album, or in Nostalgic J-pop, where Seiko musically explores her love for classic artists like Utada Hikaru and Sheena Ringo while giving voice to her calmer and more reflective side. And while her approach to music is explicit, Sennou still manages to be an unpredictable album: From Nana-chan no Saisei Kouza and her dreamy vibes brought by delicate singing and a classy piano to Kodoma ja nai Mon 17‘s Christmas-y feeling, and the absolute craziness of Watashi wa Omoshiroi Zettai Omoshiroi Tabun (that synthpop ending is just epic), you never know what to expect next from this album, but it’s always a great and pleasant new discover every time.

With Sennou, Oomori Seiko takes her countless musical inspirations and plays with them, facing them individually and exploring them to the bottom to then smash them together to make her craziest and most sincere side of her personality come out rawly, something that would normally produce confusing results but instead comes out as pure genial and absolutely legit compositions: Simply amazing.


Verdict

Other than being the most appropriated title for this album, Brainwashing is a word that gains an extremely funny and beautiful meaning in Seiko-chan’s new album; If you’re bored by the “usual” groups invading the mainstream scene of the Japanese Music scene or you’re simply looking for something valuable, different and plain funny, Sennou is the album that will cure your hunger for innovative music.

Oomori Seiko delivers a record that’s various, deep, crazy, and extremely brave, and it succeeds in its main goal of being unpredictable while still bringing meaningful concepts and raw, sincere feelings represented by a limitless and open minded conception of music. The world needs more artists like this girl.

Vote: 8.5 / 10


Tracklist

[CD]

01. Zettai Zetsubou Zekkouchou
02. Imitation Girl
03. Kyuru Kyuru
04. Nostalgic J-pop
05. Nana-chan no Saisei Kouza
06. Kodoma Ja Nai Mon 17
07. Noroi ha Mizuiro
08. Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise
09. Watashi wa Omoshiroi Zettai Omoshiroi Tabun
10. Kisumikirumi
11. Yakiniku Date
12. Date wa Yameyou
13. Omake ~Super free pop~

[DVD – Limited Edition type ★]

01. Zetsubou Zekkouchou(Video Clip)
02. Nostalgic J-POP(Video Clip)
03. Oomori Seiko’s Major Debut Documentary – 60 minutes of video footage

[DVD – Limited Edition type ■ ]

01. Oomori Seiko live @ TOKYO KINEMA CLUB – 60 minutes of live footage

 – Alex
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