Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
Sublime early record from the masters of Shibuya-kei
Robert in SF | 12/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like most Westerners, I discovered Pizzicato 5 after Nomiya Maki had already become the lead singer, in 1990. While I'm a big fan of Ms. Maki's voice, I was absolutely enchanted by this earlier (1987) recording, when Mamiko Sasaki was the lead female singer. Original P5 member Ryo Kamomiya's warm baritone voice is the perfect compliment to Ms. Sasaki's pure tone; rarely have I heard a pop duo sound better, singing simple unison melodies, with little vibrato or sustain.
I picked up "Couples" (in a used record shop in Shibuya, of all places) a few weeks ago. The inn I was staying at in Tokyo had a CD player in the room, so I was able to listen to the CD the night I bought it. The sound was totally different than the later P5 with which I was so familiar. Instead of Maki's close-miked and somewhat brassy singing, backed with a propulsive rhythm section, "Couples" sounds much "breathier", and often like it was recorded in a large, bare room. This reverb effect gives a much more wistful and intimate sound to many of the songs.
And great songs they are. Konishi Yasuharu wrote most of the 12 cuts, and there's not a forgettable song in there. Each of them is distinctive, yet all hang together admirably, and the caliber of writing and arranging is at least as good as anything Yasuharu/P5 have ever done. There are also two songs that pop up in post-Maki recordings: "Serial Stories" and "Summertime, Summertime".
Songs alternate between lush and swinging, but the sophisticated orchestral and brass arrangemets perfectly offset the minimal singing style. The influence of jazz and French and Brazilian pop are much more prevalent than the funk and soul of later P5 recordings. Nevertheless, if you are a P5 fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up "Couples". It has become my favorite record from their catalog."