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Plenty, a chilled, soft rock band from Ibaraki, was formed in 2004 from a group of students, and since then have released mini-albums and singles that have propelled them into the public eye. With their slow and steady rhythms and soft vocals, the band is an indie act on the way up.

Plenty, whose name comes from a parfait shop the members frequented in high school, is vocalist and guitarist Fumiya Enuma, and bassist Noriaki Nitta, and released their first, self-titled album only last year. So their new release, the second full album ‘this’, has arrived pretty swiftly! But what does that mean about the contents?

The first track of the album is ‘Player’, opening with gentle guitar chords and a soothing drum beat that lead into the first verse. Fumiya’s voice is higher than I expected, but perfectly fits the soft melody and dream-like feeling created by this first track. The chorus sees the electric and acoustic guitars grow in volume with a piano joining before a short solo section with the electric guitar dramatically builds the atmosphere. The final choruses hit the peak of the song, where the vocal reaches its full emotional impact before the end of the song.

‘Aru hanashi’ has a warm, exotic feel to it, and contrasts Player with a simpler melody and heavier repetition. However, the more frequent clashes of cymbals and another smooth, easy-listening guitar solo keep the track from becoming boring. Although, I did find that this track lacks the building and drama of the last.

The third track is ‘Ressei’, featuring another new sound. The drum introduces the main instrumentals, which are clearly led by the electric guitar. The bass is simple and clean, and the chorus is sweet and undeniably catchy. Yet another short solo demonstrates Fumiya’s talent, although it is simpler than the others. There is more variance from one section to the next, with a reverberating middle eight where the bass takes more of a lead role in accompanying the vocal.

‘fly&fall’ is up next, and sets off on another steadily paced rhythm, with a particularly good vocal. The song builds with the electric guitar’s falling notes in the chorus- although the sections of the song are somewhat hard to distinguish. The most beautiful part of the song, however, is the quieter moment before the final burst of sound, which is both relaxing and touching.

To demonstrate what else plenty are capable of, ‘Kyoukai-sen’ begins with reverb on the vocal and distorted cymbals and synths in the background, constructing a completely new dream-world. The next part, then, comes as even more of a surprise. A second of silence then turns into a dark, distorted guitar riff that somewhat overpowers the vocal, which itself grows more emotional and less soothing. The pace may not pick up, but the bizarre conflict between the sections of the track make it one of the most memorable on the album.

‘somewhere’, on the other hand, returns to the listener to the softer acoustic guitar heard in tracks such as Player. The melody too takes a step back to simpler patterns and an innocent tone. However, this track also adds cello and other strings to its usual instrumentation. The plucking, in particular, complements the laid-back vibe the song suggests throughout, even throughout the louder guitar solo.

‘Mada minu kimi’ immediately has an upbeat, happy feeling to its echo-like guitar part and faster drum beat. It may not build too much until near the end, but is consistently uplifting, and still worth a listen.

The eighth track is ‘Te no naruhou e’, which is led by an acoustic guitar as heard in somewhere. However, the electric incarnation takes precedence in its solo moments, when its melody is as moving as the vocal, and the following chorus is strikingly beautiful. Being one of the longer tracks on the album, Te no naruhou e has full opportunity to flaunt its impact and takes its place as one of the strongest tracks too.

‘Yorokobi no uta’ is the penultimate track, and starts off with a sweet little pattern of notes on the guitar and a quirky vocal characterized by very short notes in the verse, which grow with the sound of the track overall. Once again, the acoustic and electric guitars combine seamlessly, although they tend to drown out the bass. However, with such a memorable chorus, I don’t see why this track should not be one of the most popular on the album.

And so we arrive on our journey through plenty’s surreal dream, at our destination- the tenth and final track, ‘Itsuka no ashita’. And it comes as a surprise. Simply the vocal and guitar, it is a short couple of minutes focusing on Fumiya’s voice, which climbs to some new heights, hitting the notes tentatively, but well. After some dramatic moments throughout, though, I felt that this track could have had more made of it for the conclusion.

What becomes clear through listening to this is a superb control of instrumentation, adding and subtracting where the most impact can be reached. You might have to be in the mood, but when you are, this is a beautifully balanced and emotional album, if a little slow to pick up in places.


Words by Lauren du Plessis

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