Idol group Niji No Conquistador have released their first full album, and we thought it was about time that we reviewed it.
If you’re a fan, even prior to the album being released, you’ve probably already heard most of it, as “This Summer Girl is an Innocent Mistress”, “No Life Baby of the End”, ” Retort ~ Kareinaru Ai”, “Love Men Koi Aji Yawame” , “Jump!” and “Futari no Spur” have all been drip fed out as singles over the past year or so.
I normally expect an album like this to be a little bloated with filler, but in actual fact, as far as filler track are concerned, it’s not too bad compared to a lot of idol albums. Although, Idol albums need to seriously start doing away with the initial “Overture” or first “warm up” in the album (I’m looking at you, Dempagumi inc.) There are a few tracks on the album that haven’t been released as singles, and it’s clear why. They are a little generic and fall a little flat. However, they all have that damn Nijicon charm – so it’s nearly impossible to not be enamoured with them after a few listens.
Because of the large number of, largely excellent in their own right, singles crammed on to it, the album feels a little disjointed as it has no overall thread running through it to connect the songs musically or lyrically. It feels like Niji no Conquistador has thrown in a couple of summer songs, a winter song, and a couple of ‘food’songs. This is not to say that the individual songs there are not brilliant – because they are. The whole album is VERY Nijicon, which is a good thing. However Rainbow Phenomenon feels more like a collection of singles (which I guess it is) than a cohesive album.
One thing that Rainbow Phenomenon never drops is the pace. In a lot of idol albums, there are a few unnecessarily slower songs, or even attempts at ballads (don’t do that!), or songs that fail to accurately represent the feeling or dynamic of the band. This leaves these songs feeling generic, as if they could be sung by anyone – which kills the mood of the album and the connection with the band. In the case of Rainbow Phenomenon, all of the songs are distinctly Niji No Conquistador and all maintain an upbeat pace.
The highlights of the album are without a doubt the already released singles. “Retort ~ Kareinaru Ai” and “Love Men Koi Aji Yawame” are classic, pure, playful Niji No Conquistador madness. Frankly, I wish we could have an album full of songs like this.
The best song on Niji No Conquistador’s new album, for me, is the slightly stronger version of “No Life Baby of the End”, which is the last track of the album. It’s called “Desperate Version”, and it’s a little heavier, with slightly different arrangement and production. This is THE version of this song, and I think a mistake was made in not releasing this as the single to accompany the PV. Driving guitars and drums (although over produced) should be what a song like this is all about, and the vocals work incredibly well with the instrumental. It’s refreshing and brings a welcome edge to the Niji No Conquistador sound.
For their next outing, I’d love to see Nijicon create a more cohesive album that told an aural story rather than being a singles collection.
Overall, Rainbow Phenomenon is a brilliant album and very much recommended. If you’re a fan of Niji No Conquistador, then you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not, then you’re about to discover something wonderful.