So far this year has been filled with disappointing announcements of good musical acts disbanding, some being my favorite bands. I’m pretty bummed by the news, but there was one announcement that made me forget about those for a bit; and that was the return of Tomoko Kawase. The vocalist of The Brilliant Green returns with both her alter-egos in a double album, february & heavenly. Yay.
Tomoko Kawase created Tommy february6 in 2001, with Tommy heavenly6 following two years later. As far as sound goes, her band The Brilliant Green carried an alternative rock sound, where february6 is inspired by 80s synthpop, and heavenly6 is rooted in punk and rock. I’ve always preferred her february6 persona, but it took a pretty long hiatus as Tommy worked on heavenly6. Now she’s dishing out new february6 material in nearly 7 years. It’s long overdue, but february6 is finally here, with heavenly6 too, of course.
The double album features seven tracks from both personas. To be honest I thought it should have just been all february6, but seven is better than nothing. February is just great. The lead track Hot Chocolat is filled with big, distorted bass lines that contrast with sharp, cascading synths. The 80s synthpop style really comes out in Gimme Gimme Gimme, while some added funk goodness is displayed in Good Night My Sweet Day. Guitars in combination with classic synth sounds in My Future Boy could be an intro song to an 80s sci-fi TV show, while the beat and melodies of I’m Your Angel is like candy so sweet it’ll rot your tooth. The tempo is taken down in ballads Last Slow Dance and I Hold Your Night. Good, but the tracks seem like they belong in a The Brilliant Green album. The sweet nostalgic synthpop sound is disrupted a bit as those two are, well… not very synthpop like the rest of the album.
On the darker side, heavenly6’s album flows quite well. From the strong opening of Call Me Princess to the kind of creepy albeit cheesy monologues of the Halloween remix of I’m Your Devil, the album is quite solid. The tracks hit hard with crunchy guitars, with cool rhythm sections featured in You Hurt Me and driving chorus melodies like in 2010 single monochrome rainbow. The album follows the same formula for all its songs, which could get a bit repetitive. Tommy’s darker rock-infused alter-ego certainly isn’t made to be as flexible in sound as her sweet synthpop counterpart, but the strong melodies are what carry heavenly6 here.
Both albums have their ups and downs. February could have certainly been longer, and heavenly could benefit from a bit more variety. But the whole thing is a pretty solid release. And so the wait has ended. Tommy heavenly6 has constantly been releasing material, but I’ve been waiting for february6 to come back for the longest time, thanks Tommy. Crossing fingers for more in the future.
Tommy february6 & Tommy heavenly6
february & heavenly
01 HOT CHOCOLAT
02 GIMME GIMME GIMME
03 I’M YOUR ANGEL
04 MY FUTURE BOY
05 LAST SLOW DANCE
06 GOOD NIGHT MY SWEET DAY
07 I HOLD YOUR NIGHT
01 CALL ME PRINCESS
02 HATE YOUR LIES
03 I’M YOUR DEVIL
04 YOU HURT ME
05 monochrome rainbow
06 DARK DARK SKY
07 I’M YOUR DEVIL -HALLOWEEN REMIX-