Single review: “Innocent” by earthmind

earthmind is a Japanese band that consists of Erina (vocals), Ommy (guitar), and Jun Takai (bass). Innocent is their fourth single.

Release date: 20th of November, 2013

Track list:
1. Innocent
2. Hello My Days
3. Fantasy Star
4. Innocent -Short ver.- [Limited Pressing]
4. Innocent -Instrumental- [Regular Edition]

1. Innocent
A tender piano tune serves as the opener for Innocent, and with a short, low-key viola counter melody, the track’s basic instrumental begins to play. A bubbly, buoyant first verse combines persistent piano chords with ENERGY-esque drums to parallel Erina’s cheerful, animated vocals. This collective soon rolls into the Christmas-tinged chorus, as we hear several elements becoming more noticeable, together with the entrance of the sweet yet subtle sound of strings lurking in the background. A few variations to the main melody take place in the second verse, and Erina sounds a tad more lively, if that’s even considered possible to begin with. The beat slows down for the start of the bridge, and is accompanied by electric guitars and violas that add unusually dark undertones for that moment. However, this quickly passes and we proceed into the remainder of the bridge and the final chorus, which, as a whole, radiates merriment and glee, just like the Christmas season does.

2. Hello My Days
A short snippet featuring a union between piano and xylophone starts off the song, and as Erina enters with calm and relaxing vocals, so do acoustic guitars and steady percussion. As we reach the chorus, the basic beat speeds up and the strumming of the acoustic guitars becomes more gradual and consistent. At this point, the song has the potential to induce emotional strain, pressing onto your heart with each guitar strum. This initial feeling of nostalgia develops into introspection and perhaps even freedom as the strings enter and the instrumentation swells into one of hope and longing. Erina’s silvery vocal performance is quite notable, yet she lacks emotional conveyance at times, which makes the arrangement the primary source of emotion. earthmind’s songs seem to always have guitar solos in the bridge, but I thought that this one could have easily been omitted, and instead, could have had actual lyrics in its place. Overall, Hello My Days is a pleasant ballad, but it’s definitely not the best the band has to offer.

3. Fantasy Star
The third and final track of the single begins with a sharp shot of synth and a clamour of percussion, immediately turning into an edgy electronic/rock/dance hybrid monster of a song. Erina’s toneless vocals were unheard of before this moment, but they are present in beginning of the verses in Fantasy Star, and such gives off stylish and modern vibes, perfectly complementing the overall futuristic feeling of the track. The chorus is a delightfully chaotic mix of everything heard in this track, ranging from heavy synths to electric guitars to pounding drums, as well as Erina’s incredibly expressive singing. The middle eight section welcomes a new layer to the song, as almost all components are repressed to give the spotlight to an unfortunately messy drum solo. The song ends with another disorderly segment, this time with absolutely every element of the track, as Erina finishes off everything with one more powerful enunciation of the title. It’s dramatic, it demands your full attention, and that’s what makes this song quite remarkable.

A new era begins for earthmind, and a single representing three different genres is actually a very good way to start things off. Anison, ballads and electronic tracks have all been done by the band at least once before, and seeing them combined in one solid single (albeit with some flaws) is quite a treat! I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what’s up next from them!

Rating: 4/5

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Single review: “ARCADIA” by earthmind

earthmind is a Japanese band that consists of Erina (vocals), Ommy (guitar), and Jun Takai (bass). ARCADIA is their second single.

Release date: 5th of December, 2012

Track List: Regular Edition
1. ARCADIA
2. HORIZON
3. Another Heaven
4. ARCADIA -Instrumental-
5. HORIZON -Instrumental-
6. Another Heaven -Instrumental-
7. Kaleidoscope -transparent mix- (Bonus Track)

1. ARCADIA
ARCADIA is the opening theme for the Fate/Stay Night Realta Nua game for the PS Vita. Okay, I’m sorry, but this song is downright amazing. It’s just so rocking & upbeat and… wow. I can’t even. Oh my gosh. It opens with a guitar riff and then comes out with the band just rocking out. The vocalist sounds really good for this song, too. I’m not even sure what else to say, it’s just that good. I expect it would be a good opening for the game, just as it is a great opening for the single. LOVE IT.

2. HORIZON
HORIZON is a more electronic take on the full-on rock stylings of ARCADIA. It’s sort of an electronic rock song, if that counts as something. HORIZON has the exact same tune as ARCADIA, but the lyrics have been changed. I must say, the start of the second verse — when the vocals have been made to sound almost robotic — was a nice touch. Since I loved ARCADIA, it would only make sense if I liked this as well. So I do, but not as much as the more rock-oriented version.

3. Another Heaven
Another Heaven is a completely different song from the other two. ARCADIA and HORIZON are just versions of each other, whereas Another Heaven is set apart from the other two. This song slows things down… just a tad… and we sort of move away from the energetic feeling of the first two songs. Actually, it’s only slower in the first verse. It gets faster and more rocking as the song progresses. That being said, it still isn’t as rocking as the first two songs. I did like the bridge, when Erina just kind of stepped back and let the guys rock out. Hmm… pretty good!

I won’t be writing about the instrumentals…

7. Kaleidoscope -transparent mix- (Bonus Track)
The original version of Kaleidoscope was featured in their first single, B-Bird, as the B-side. As opposed to the free & flying kind of sound of the original, the transparent mix tones it down to a ballad mostly filled with piano. The chorus was the highlight, as sweeping strings accompany the piano. I already liked the original version, and the transparent mix allows us to look at the song in a different way. It’s a nice take on Kaleidoscope, and a pleasant way to close the single.

Oh my, what a single from earthmind! Starting with the energetic and totally rocking ARCADIA and HORIZON, slightly toning it down with Another Heaven, and finishing things off with the piano-and-strings ballad of the transparent mix of Kaleidoscope, the entire single was just amazing. This is actually what got me into earthmind in the first place, and maybe it’ll be the one that gets you into them, too!

Rating: 5/5