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angela: I/O PDF Print E-mail
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Soundtracks & JMusic
Thursday, 20 January 2005 00:36
angela: I/O - Cover ArtWhat is it about second albums?  I've often heard about the "Second Album Curse", where a group or artist who has had a hugely successful first album, has crashed ignominiously with their second.  Now, along comes the second mainstream album from angela, who originally made a splash in anime-land with their songs from Stellvia, and their extremely good first album, Sora no Koe.  Can they avoid the Second Album Curse?

Song titles in brackets are bablefish'd translations.

CORE introduction [I/O]
Short acoustic track that could really do with being longer.  Gives you a good idea of what atsuko sounds like when she's not belting the lyrics out, which is something you don't get to hear often...

謝罪状況 (apology circumstance)
Normal service is resumed, with this track that sounds a lot like Kirei no Yozora from their previous album.  Although the backing track is happily less of a cacophony, it's still not the greatest example of an angela song.  It does grow on you after a while, though.

merry-go-round, solitude, on my way ~reborn~
Three catchy little tunes, here, with solitude in particular being the sort of tune that gets stuck in your head.  on my way is catchy without having a real hook to it (I don't mean that in a bad way, either - there's just that 'something' missing from the tune).

笑い者の Fairy tale (Laughing person's fairy tale), feel, like a breeze
The slower tracks. Fairy tale is definitely in the 'play it loud' category, while feel, like a breeze is more the 'chill-out background music' style, and probably has the better replay value of the two.

angela: I/O - Inside Booklet (Input)

maybe...maybe...
A slightly strange tune that switches back and forth between dark & foreboding and more upbeat sections as it goes along - it works surprisingly well, though, and is one of my favourite tracks on the album.  Quite powerful, in its own way.

cheers!
Party time - or at least that's what it sounds like when you listen to the background of this track.  While it tries to get something of a South American / festival feel going, it didn't really work too well for me, and is one of the weaker tracks on the disc.

小さな歴史の詩 (Poem of small history)
Perhaps the nearest in tone to what I've come to expect from an 'anime' tune, even though it's not actually from any show, this track manages to be quite upbeat and melancholy in tone, at the same time - just something with the way the track is scored that works on both levels, and makes this another really good track.  While it's not something you'll be humming for hours after you've heard it, it's definitely one of the highlights.

Shangri-La, Separation [Pf]
You'll probably recognise these as the OP/ED themes for Sokyuu no Fafner, although Separation is in its acoustic form here.  These songs together were the best thing about Fafner, with Shangri-la being one of the best recent theme songs, period.  The original version of Separation was also very good, but sadly the version here really doesn't work too well, having lost a lot of what made the song so powerful.

angela: I/O - Inside Booklet (Output)

My reaction after my first listen to I/O was that it wasn't a bad album, but it also wasn't nearly as good as angela's first album, Sora no Koe.  Now that I've listened to it a few more times, I can safely say it's one of those albums that really does grow on you if you give it the chance.  While there aren't any outright 5-star original songs here, most of the tracks have their own style & appeal that will have you replaying the album again for quite a while to come.

Taken as a whole, I/O is definitely worth getting hold of - just temper your expectations first.  angela seem to have avoided the worst of the Second Album Curse - here's hoping there's more good music to come from them.

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