The Project Dora exploration has now led me to the band Rayflower. Dubbed as as a “super-group” by NEUMANIA, Rayflower is composed of Takayuki Tazawa (SPIRAL MIND, ex.Waive) on vocals, YUKI (DUSTAR-3, ex. Λucifer) on guitar, IKUO (BULL ZEICHEN, abingdon boys school [support]) on bass, Keiichi Miyako (SOPHIA) on keyboards and finally L’Arc~en~Ciel’s former drummer Sakura (Lion Heads, Sons of All Pussys, ex. Zigzo) Flower Language is the band’s first mini-album.
Six powerful tracks deliver Rayflower’s brand of alternative rock. Each song is bursting with energy that contrast the album’s boring cover artwork. Collectively, they build on a buoyant and relentless vibe that tends to linger long after the last song has played.
Runaway Brain kicks off the album and immediately it establishes the get up and go attitude that permeates Flower Language. Sakura bangs on the drums with such ferocity and skill that easily makes it the song’s focal point. Tazawa likewise gives a commendable performance as he hits the high notes effortlessly. Runaway Brain actually sounds like something off abingdon boys school’s catalogue but the excellent drumming by Sakura gives it the Rayflower advantage.
The succeeding track Inishie starts off slow before escalating into a mid-tempo beat that allows the guitar to join in the spotlight. However, the song borders on being a standard pop-rock fare. If not for vocal prowess displayed by Tazawa, Inishie is a bit bland. Shinjitsu no mori no naka de, in contrast, is a richly textured track that is highlighted by sexy guitar rifts. It is definitely my favorite track in the album. While being mid-tempo like Inishie, there is enough movement in Shinjitsu to ensure a very pleasant listening experience.
In the interestingly titled SOCIAL NETWORK GENERATION, Rayflower explores a more rocking sound with its rippling guitar solos and aggressive sound. The next song, Uragiri no nai sekai made follows in the same vein only its chorus makes a slight detour in the pop territory. Uragiri… is in fact Rayflower’s first single and was used as the opening theme for the brand new anime Uragiri wa boku no namae o shitteiru.
Flower Language closes with the power ballad Hanataba~from rose with love~. How this song was sung reminds me of Takanori Nishikawa’s performance in From Dusk Till Dawn –INCH UP- off the ABINGDON ROAD album. The clarity in elocution and the emotional intensity that propels the vocals are spot-on. As for the song itself, soaring is the word that best describes it. The same could be said for the whole album. With Flower Language, Rayflower lives up to the “super-group” tag. I certainly would be on the lookout for their future releases. Unfortunately, I may be in for a long wait as Miyako has just been recently diagnosed with lymphoma. It’s quite a blow for a band just poised for flight but I’m positive that whatever they come out with after this would be worth the wait.