Love Hearts?

This album is a collaboration with CYTOKINE. It’s rather interesting, really. There’s 2 albums released at C79, one by Syrufit(Love Hearts?) and one by CYTOKINE(Dead man’s hand), both featuring artists from both circles. So we get to hear tracks arranged by Syrufit with a vocalist from CYTOKINE, for example.

I initially wasn’t planning to review this, since I figured Syrufit albums are relatively popular and most people would find them on their own, but I was pretty amazed at the quality after I listened to it. It’s one of the best vocal trance albums produced by Syrufit to date, and I think it trumps any of their previous ones, even “show me your love”, which has been my favourite from them so far.

I think some of it is due to the collaboration with CYTOKINE, which brings many new vocalists and also Linjin as arranger. I like Linjin’s style quite a fair bit when it comes to vocal songs, and CYTOKINE is one of my favourite circles as well, though their style is alot stronger than Syrufit’s. aki is also one of my favourite vocalists, she has a very mature sound that suits CYTOKINE’s style of arrangement very well.

Circle Name: Syrufit
Album Name: Love Hearts?

I guess I’ll try to include youtube links for those people who are too lazy to download the entire album. It’s not as great, and you really should pick up the album, but I guess if you’re lazy this works for you.

  1. Opening Bet
    A funky opening to the album, quite soothing and sets the mood quite well. Doesn’t stand well on its own, however.
  2. true blue
    Now this is more of Syrufit’s style. Pretty much what you would expect, straight vocal trance with little to no deviation from the standard. It sounds a bit like “Wheel” from “show me your love”(Even has Ayakura Mei as vocals as well), but it lacks the power of Wheel. I think this would be great if I hadn’t already heard so much like it from Syrufit/Alstroemeria Records at C78. Seriously, it sounds very, very similar to their previous works and lacks any defining characteristics. Overall, a decent track but I expected something… less same?
  3. and Juliet
    This starts off alot stronger, with a nice leading drum and some funky synthesizer. The instruments serve nicely as a backdrop for Ayakura’s vocals, and results in the whole thing sounding rather melodic, even though the instruments aren’t really providing any backup for the melody and it’s solely Ayakura’s voice doing it. Pretty well done, reminds me of Fantasia from Alstroemeria’s C78 album, but less of the total reliance on the vocals which was kind of detracting. I like the house beat as well, very nice stuff.
  4. fill you in
    Quite different from what we’ve had so far, this song was arranged by Linjin from CYTOKINE, and has the usual powerful vocals and instruments. It seems that he’s picked up some tricks from Syrufit though, and there’s quite a bit of a trance influence on the entire thing rather than the usual vocal rock that CYTOKINE produces. aki provides great vocals, I didn’t quite think she would be suited towards vocal trance tracks but this pulls it off quite well. The melody is quite enchanting, and results in quite an uplifting feel to the entire song. Definitely one of my favourite tracks.
  5. Myosotis alpestris
    Starts off as rather heavy trance, very strong beat and the usual synthesizers. Actually sounds a bit like house music, were it not for how the synthesizers sound and how it degenerates towards the middle. 3L is the vocalist for this one. I don’t really like her. Her voice is quite high pitched, sort of like Ayakura’s, but lacks a certain mature touch to it and it ends up sounding like a fairy is singing the entire thing. Might not be bad for you, this is really just my personal preference. The arrangement for this is superb though, and makes up rather spectacularly for the voice. Quite a long track(7:42), it almost sounds like progressive or uplifting trance because of the length. Actually, that might be right. Uplifting Vocal Trance gogo?
  6. everything
    Starts out rather like jazz, and is rather confusing at the start. I like the starting quite a bit, and the vocals(3L) flow in rather smoothly as well. It’s a pity this isn’t maintained throughout the entire track though, and it does become more normal vocal trance towards the middle. Actually, on hindsight that’s probably a good thing since that is after all what you would expect. Nice stuff, reminds me of Shibayan’s style.
  7. Rewire
    Arranged by CYTOKINE’s Linjin, using aki for vocals once again. Quite strong track, reminds me alot of CYTOKINE’s usual stuff. The voice saying “Rewire” over and over again gets a bit weird, but thankfully it cuts out after a while. This is a remix of Kagome Kagome, which is one of my favourite melodies as well, so I ended up liking this quite a fair bit. I think it could have been alot better though, and it lacks a certain touch to it after a while. The trance synthesizers really seem like they’re trying a bit too hard, and it does end up being a somewhat hard track, though it does end up straddling the border between hard and soft. As someone who listens to hardcore alot, it doesn’t sound too bad but if you’re not used to heavy drums it wouldn’t be too soothing to listen to. Perhaps it would have been better if it had been vocal rock rather than trying to be vocal trance.
  8. BAD
    Another track arranged by CYTOKINE, this time using Syrufit’s vocalist 3L. Has some freaky synthesized voices near the start for one reason or another, and maintains a rather strong synthesized drumbeat. I like how the vocals are used in this song, to accentuate the drums, and it sounds like both the drums and vocals are working together rather than one being in the background while the other takes the spotlight. The lyrics also seem to be in Engrish, but its quite hard to tell due to the accent on 3L, which is sort of to be expected from a Japanese singer after all. Excellent track, I would say this is one of my favourites as well. However, it is rather hard, with the heavy and unrelenting drumbeat, so it might not be suited to people who aren’t used to it.
  9. you’re the fire
    Much easier to listen to. Arranged by CYTOKINE yet again, with Ayakura providing vocals. Right off the bat we have some nice, soft vocals and a soft drumbeat, which is a nice break from the last 2 tracks. Not alot of synthesizers used, but it does end up sounding alot like vocal trance. In fact, you could even say this was a pop song, except it doesn’t quite conform to the standard pattern of having the same thing over and over again(haha I don’t like pop). Overall, a very nice and soothing song.
  10. EX-otica
    This is an off-vocal track, arranged by CYTOKINE. I like that CYTOKINE is willing to experiment with other styles quite a fair bit rather than sticking to the same sound all the time, as shown in this track. It’s a nice, traditional trance song, with heavy synthesizers and a typical trance drumbeat accompanying. If you really wanted to you could maybe call this vocal trance because of the sampled voices, but yeah that wouldn’t quite be in the spirit of it. It reminds me of the old days of Alstroemeria Records, where vocal tracks were the minority and most of it was trance, though they’re mostly a vocal trance circle now. Quite a nice track, though I wouldn’t listen to it on its own.

I think Syrufit is one of the most interesting vocal trance circles now, possibly even better than Alstroemeria Records. Most of their releases(Aside from Love Buzz which I didn’t quite like as much) have been quite spectacular, and this collaboration continues to uphold that quality.