Oh, how I’d like to give Madrigal a glowing review.
It’s Chara, after all.
One of the most unique voices in the Japanese music. A sort of saccharine Macy Gray, with a lot less sandpaper in her throat. A singer with a distinct vision of what her voice ought to achieve.
And on Madrigal, Chara again finds seeks out music that suites her unique set of pipes. It’s just not very memorable music.
There certainly are some bright moments. Former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha opens the album with two incredible songwriting contributions, “Boku ni Utushite” and “Skirt”. Of the two, “Skirt” is the hands-down gem, a sugary pop confection made bittersweet with Chara’s husky delivery.
The album’s first single, “Lemon Candy”, makes for a nice companion piece to “Skirt”, and “Caramel Milk,” which was written by Ivy’s Andy Chase, has a nice leisurely pace.
But for the most part, Madrigal is inconspicuous.
Only on a few tracks does Chara ever reveal the power her voice holds. She sounds great when she’s whispering, but she shouldn’t hinge an entire album on it.
The band nearly drowns Chara out on “Tameiki no Mi”. Her non-descript delivery on “Kanashimi to Bi” probably possesses more fire than the song lets on.
“Kokoro no Ki” just kind of waddles, and even on “TADD”, the fastest, boisterous song on the album, Chara barely registers.
As a result, what should have been a strong collection of neo-psychedelic rose-colored-glasses pop-rock turns into a belaboured performance.
The two versions of “Skirt” on this album aren’t enough to really make it interesting.
And that’s too bad. Chara is a riveting performer, and the hippie vibe that permeates this album fits her like a velvet, diamond-studded glove.
Just wish she sounded more interested in it.