Japanese, Reviews

Following Up: Rythem’s Gyuttoshite Single (Review)

February 28, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Following Up: Rythem’s Gyuttoshite Single (Review)on Twitter

It’s no secret that the idea behind anime OP/ED sequences is mostly as a marketing tool with which to introduce new artists or expose established artists to a different audience. But while I have no doubts that it helps the artists, it’s hard for me to find the time to follow up on them and look into some of the artists whose music have been used in the shows that I’ve followed.

Such was the case with Rythem, the group responsible for performing the OP theme for the manic shounen bread anime titled Yakitate!! Japan through their single Houki Gumo. My impressions of the song were quite favorable; the duo of Yui Nitsu and Yukari Katou impressed me with the way their voices blended together to create a calm, soothing tone. This was in 2005.

Fast forward 4 years later, and we come to their latest single titled Gyuttoshite and it’s worth seeing whether they’ve evolved as musicians. More after the jump.

For this album, the duo is joined by Shintaro Tokita of the J-pop band Sukima Switch, who lends his talents towards the production side of things. Tokita’s contributions are on display from the very beginning through the brass instrumentals which quickly take on a jazzy air once the duo begins to sing and this helps this Rythem album sound different enough from their prior works to make it worth checking out.

The key, of course, is in the words “different enough,” since Rythem does not deviate from the easy-listening brand of J-pop that they’ve been known for all these years. “Gyuttoshite” is pleasant and soothing; the tempo flows slowly and the delivery is calming. These elements come together to create a relaxing aura that’s occasionally interrupted by the few upward-lilting phrases that seem just a tad out of place, but don’t have too adverse an effect upon one’s enjoyment of the song.

There isn’t much to else to say once one reaches the chorus since the calming atmosphere continues its course and the melody there is catchy even if it borders on the generic at times. Overall, “Gyuttoshite” is a competent effort, one that’s unlikely to turn heads or stick out in one’s memory, but still makes for a good listening experience nonetheless.

The B-side, “TOMATO,” shifts the energy level upwards by being a lot more upbeat and this has the effect of making the song more fun, albeit a silly kind of fun. Though it’s slightly repetitive, “TOMATO” feels lively and you can definitely picture the singers with smiles on their faces while performing this piece. The only part that seemed a bit off is the bridge, which slips into the realm of broadway showtunes. While I cannot follow how an energetic piece progresses to that point since the transition isn’t totally smooth, it’s not an unpleasant shift since the song remains an enthusiastic and delightful listen for the entire way through.

Of the two, “TOMATO’s” oddities render it the more memorable track, but “Gyuttoshite” is worth listening to as well, especially if you prefer more relaxing fare. Within the context of Rythem’s other works, this single does not represent a huge deviation from the music they made four years ago and I doubt that they are the kind of group that would experiment too much with their formula anyways. If consistency is their goal, they’re doing a good enough job of maintaining it. It’s available at CD Japan and Play-Asia.

Anyone else catch on to Rythem’s sound even before Yakitate!! Japan? Think they’ve evolved or changed their style that much since the early days? Let us know!

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