AND -eccentric agent-

 

Muyuu no Kago
Written by Rachel Yarwood
Visual Kei rock band 'AND -Eccentric Agent-' have been hard at work since their formation back in 2007, releasing numerous singles and a handful of albums, and they are back this year with their newest single release "Muyuu no Kago."
"Muyuu no Kago" starts us off with a rather illusive opening with an echoed drum beat (Kaji)which is followed closely by a slow, dramatic, piano introduction. This sets the way for the rest of the band to enter with a rather impressive sound including a heavy prominent bass line (Ken) and the guitars (Kiri and PECO) offering an even more darker and heavier rhythm to accompany Ken's bass. 
As Ikuma begins on vocals, this deep and heavy rock element continues, his voice emanating power in a lower key for the most part of the verses, only touching up the melody for the chorus which coincides with an addition of melody (not just the occasional metal influenced squeals) from the guitar compositions as well.
Ken's bass lines are particularly noticeable alongside Kaji's consistent and unfaltering drum beat. The bass has succeeded in giving "Muyuu no Kago" more of a darker rhythm for the most part, not including the vocals and the background violins, which you can hear perfectly through out without any problem. That is until you come to the guitar solo of course. On the one hand, this solo might be a little short lived perhaps for some fans of AND -Eccentric Agent-, but then again on a first listen of this song it is not really that noticeable with it being rather fast paced. Instead the whole piece flows perfectly together. 
As the song comes to a close, the classical strings in the background have replaced the piano which we first heard at the beginning.  The orchestra of violins are more or less with us for the entirety of the song, however they do become more noticeable as Ikuma's vocals end, the drum beat cools off, and the guitars finish with a dim hum bringing everything to as much a dramatic end as it was a dramatic start. 
This new release will on sale from the 18th of April and will come in two different versions; Type A and Type B.  Type A will feature two songs in total, "Muyuu no Kago" and "Yokujou Biyori", plus a bonus DVD with the music video and the "Secret File Volume 3". Type B will feature three songs in total, "Muyuu no Kago", "Bara Iro No Jinsei" and "Yokujou Biyori".
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Liberate
Written by Kitty Linton
And -eccentric agent- are a band that had a slow start but seem to go from strength to strength with every release, especially having gained popularity fast after their major label debut in 2011 and unlike other bands they have held on to their darker and eccentric musical roots as was exemplified in their previous release ‘BLAZE’.
Now only a month later and another single ‘Liberate’ is released, their last of the year but after the hugely successful release of ‘BLAZE’ will this new single share similar triumph and end a thriving year for the band on a high or be overshadowed?
A drawn out strum of a single guitar note leads us into ‘Liberate’, the quiet before the storm but only briefly as suddenly all the instruments come together, exploding out of your speakers but instead of clashing it channels the organised chaos of the heavier music genres, an element AND have often included in their music. The impacting start of grinding guitars and thumping drum beats sets the tone with a rapid tempo which has you nodding or tapping along within mere moments only to slow just a notch before Ikuma’s smooth voice begins the first verse.
Although the vocals don’t slow the song down as the lyrics are sung with the same quick pace and the guitars and drum’s step back just enables them to have more of the listener’s focus and allows Ken’s bass-line to be heard but the step back doesn’t last long as we’re launched into ‘Liberate’s chorus without a pause and both the instruments and Ikuma’s vocals work together simultaneously with the lyrics almost conducting the music in a way that is typical of AND’s style and keeps your ears pricked for the next change.
The change comes over halfway through the single with it being the instruments turn to take over once more, Kiri and Peco’s short burst guitar rift combined with Kaji’s commanding drum roll leading the music into its climax. A breakdown that shows the band’s heavier side, getting the blood rushing as did the opening of Liberate and a short but nevertheless shredding guitar solo brings it full circle before Ikuma’s voice cuts through to conclude the song with a heightened sense of melody contrasting with the brief glimpses of more vocal range in rough back ups.
Overall Liberate is a great song, distinctively AND’s music but the single falls short just slightly of the bench mark that the band set with ‘BLAZE’ either because it’s missing that indescribable something that makes it stand out or the releases were too close together to avoid comparison. However AND’s songs are difficult to compare to one another as each one seems to incorporate something new, reveal another layer of the bands diverse musical elements, demonstrating their increasing skills and techniques which make each release almost unique to one another. Yet still thread together somehow to form the band’s style, ‘Liberate’ is just another foundation for that and certainly worth a listen. 
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BLAZE
Written by Keita-Eiri Uesugi
“BLAZE” starts with vocalist Ikuma bringing in the single with a quick mix of raw and rapid words that essentially lead into the chorus. The pace from the instruments is quick, not really having much depth as heavy drums merges with thundering bass and the guitars only giving us short bursts of their sound.  Fast and repetitive of which certainly takes the whole song in its stride.
The chorus is where the song slows for a moment and you get time to appreciate the likes of PECO and Kili on guitars. Ikuma begins to sing in higher pitched vocals offering more to the song for those that don’t enjoy just heavy growled out words. Drummer Kaji too slows down here so you can really appreciate the beat beneath the vocals.
The guitars have a moment, then the drums come in alongside Ken on bass for a short, pulsing burst of sound before Ikuma’s roaring comes back in again, although the sound could have given more than just being heavy.  The pace slows towards the end, repeated shouts, with heavy pounding instruments, backing sound is added to the brawl, keyboard synthesizing to help give the final chorus more structure.
Overall the single is rather simplistic in nature; quick, heavy and rapid to its completion.