I feel like a bit of a wrong has been committed in that NaNoMoRaL hasn’t gotten a proper write-up on this blog, but it’s most certainly not Maniac’s fault. They’ve been on the Homicidols radar nearly from the unit’s beginning, but I kinda-sorta called some claim on this group, and then sat on it far longer than they deserve. But the honest-to-goodness truth is that the reason for that is because I feel strongly that the group is so good, and it’s debut EP is so excellent, that I really wanted to think about this and get everything right instead of just blabbering like a giddy little fanboy.
— NaNoMoRaL 9/24(月)渋谷LOFT9 (@NaNoMoRaL_info) September 6, 2018
NaNoMoRaL is a duo made up of Amamiya Miku and Paseli-chan. Amamiya is remembered by a lot of us by her stage name “Natsuki” from her time in Avandoned. Natsu left that group in late 2016 and reappeared shortly after in the far-more traditional idol unit Emoquru Scoop (currently renamed EMOP), and then later still, announced she was leaving to become a solo act. But in actuality, she was working with EMOP’s producer, who happens to be Paseli-chan, and so, NaNoMoRaL was created! (Hope you’re taking notes on this.)
Sound-wise, NaNoMoRal have one of the more unique dynamics going on in the idol scene right now. Paseli is the man behind the music production, while Amamiya is the star up front, but the two of them very much work as a unit, with Paseli trading vocals and adding a male voice to trade off Amamiya’s. The result is a group sort of like the idol version of the punk band X with its call-and-response singing, and they work great together. A couple of demo videos first appeared on YouTube, and then some live footage, and finally, an EP, “Nisan ka Tanso” arrived in April, and that’s what I’m really excited to talk about!
“Nisan ka Tanso” is the indie debut of NaNoMoRaL, and it’s quite easily among the strongest music releases of the year by far, and that includes music outside of the idol genre. With seven songs clocking in at twenty-eight minutes, it’s a breezy listen that goes by quickly and leaves you wanting more. I’ve listened to this EP on repeat for a few months now, eager to hit the replay button as the final song finishes. Every track on here is a triumph, bursting with rich emotions. I really adored Natsu/Amamiya with Avandoned, but on this release, she’s absolutely on fire, singing her heart out on each song as if her life depended on it. In turn, Paseli-chan sings with a slightly nasally voice that suits the urgency of the music perfectly. (He’s got that kind of classic Japanese indie-rock band voice ala groups like Number Girl.)
Picking out a favorite song is honestly rather difficult, because there really is nothing weak here, but if you pressed me, I think I’d choose “Monochrome Magic” , with it’s impassioned vocals, varied tempos, some fantastic harmony work and some genuine emotion that really reaches through the speakers and grabs you. It’s a rather lavish bit of praise, but I’m willing to compare it the work of bands like Mass of the Fermenting Dregs and Chatmonchy, (Or perhaps a closer genre relation would be Oyasumi Hologram.) because this really does possess the chops to really sell every moment of the music as heartfelt and true. It’s that good.
Perhaps a little frustratingly, there doesn’t appear to be source to purchase this EP digitally, but you can buy the disc easily via Amazon Japan and CD Japan, and I’m fully willing to tell you it’ll be money well-spent. The disc is a minimalist offering, with a plain white cover and no photos, just a modest lyric booklet, and even that is fitting when the release contains music this substantial. I do feel that NaNoMoRaL is exactly the kind of group that would benefit immensely from a presence on Bandcamp, easily being able to attract new fans who don’t have any genre-specific expectations or hang-ups of what they’re checking out.
— NaNoMoRaL 9/24(月)渋谷LOFT9 (@NaNoMoRaL_info) September 14, 2018
I also believe firmly that NaNoMoRaL is a group that’s destined to grow it’s audience exponentially with future recordings if they can continue with the momentum they demonstrate here, and I see no reason why they can’t. This is such an exciting group that cracks open the possibilties of what idol music can be capable of. There’s such heightend sense of positive energy surrounding this EP that makes it feel like the sky’s the limit for this duo, so do yourself a big favor and get on board as quick as you can on this one. Currently this is competing heavily with SAKA-SAMA’s “Yume no Hate Made Mo” EP as my absolute favorite release of 2018, and it ultimately it just might edge that one out.
I know this is a gushing review that may seem to border on hyperbole, but gosh-darn-it, this is a group to watch, and “Nisan ka Tanso” is a CD to have. Don’t sleep on it!