× The Beach Boys The Beatles David Bowie BUCK-TICK The Cure Fleetwood Mac HYDE Janne Da Arc Laputa L'Arc~en~Ciel LUNA SEA MALICE MIZER MUSE The Police Porno Graffitti Rayflower S.O.A.P. Sting SURFACE TETSU69 Brian Wilson X (JAPAN) ZIGZO


My interest in this band of course came from the drummer, Sakura, being a part of it. Thankfully, unlike some of his other projects, I really love their style. They are billed as a "supergroup" since each member has a long and varied musical background. Together, they play music firmly in the rock category, with a slight progressive edge, showing the technical prowess of the members. As they are one of the few active bands I listen to, I get to enjoy looking forward to their new musical releases as they come out.

Album Reviews

It was unclear what kind of mini-album Flower Language would be when it was released. It was even more unclear what type of band Rayflower was, afterwards. Keiichi's contributions, INISHIE and uragiri no nai sekai made, are both fairly standard rock songs but with catchy melodies, being anime theme songs. IKUO's songs Runaway Brain and SOCIAL NETWORK GENERATION were the standouts for me when I first heard it, because they blend heavy music and technical rhythm parts with infectious melodies. Lastly, there's shinjitsu no mori no naka de, in which the band display a more progressive rock edge with odd time signatures, and the closing hanataba, which is a ballad. It's OK. Overall, Flower Language was mostly good, and quite interesting, but the band had not found "its sound" yet.

Best tracks:
3. Runaway Brain

NARCISSUS followed a number of years later. In that time, the members of Rayflower were busy with other projects. I was surprised the band restarted at all. Once again, the band doesn't seem really sure what direction to go down. This album ends up lacking in variety. Each song has sort of the same guitar-heavy arrangement. Make A Judgment is IKUO-ish, but it's his only contribution and it blends in a bit more this time. The best part of the album comes with Words Of The Wise Man, a fantastic sing-along ballad by guitarist YUKI. Other than that, the rest of the songs are pretty good, with the first and last being less impressive.

Best tracks:
1. Words Of The Wise Man~toki no okurimono~
2. Garbera
3. Make A Judgment

Rayflower's first full album lives up to its name. Somehow, it at once both manages to define Rayflower's sound, and also expand it. With five talented musicians at the helm, it's nice to see them not stick with just straightforward rock. I think the excellent, upbeat single U-TOPIA really set the stage for what was to become Rayflower's sound, and then they expanded with songs like saigishin having a swing sound, for instance. My Dear has a mellow, acoustic sound, S.O.S. has a slow, Pink Floyd-ish vibe, YUUSUFURU HAI is punky, and the closing Soul survivor is nearly disco! I really like the variety of this album, and it made for an excellent first full album from the band.

Best tracks:
2. Soul survivor

With their second album, Rayflower keeps things a little more straightforward. It's the kind of album where all the songs are good - there are fewer standouts than Color & Play - but they all play it pretty safe. We don't get the sort of, well, playfulness this time around, so it was a less exciting listen. Nonetheless, it is a strong follow-up album. Of particular note are the two slow songs, MAZE OF LIFE (featuring twin vocals with IKUO) and Change Your Sight, which are both excellent and my favorite songs on the album.

Best tracks:
2. Change Your Sight
3. Real Game

Well, the rating should indicate I was quite disappointed with this mini-album. There are two good songs, two OK, and two bad. Interestingly, the two I don't care for at all are the anime tie-up songs Fellow Soldier and rasen no PIISU. The first is a medium tempo song, which Rayflower has done quite well on a number of occasions, but this one doesn't really do much. rasen no PIISU is a Miyako Keiichi ballad, and I've never been very fond of his ballads. Although there are some good songs here, this album could be basically skipped. The title track is good, but feels like another in the chain of U-TOPIA and Bloom Moment, and not really anything new. That can be said of any of these tracks; there's just nothing we haven't heard before. I'd like Rayflower to try branching out more, as they did in their first full album, which I think set a really high bar for them.

Best tracks:
2. Viola
3. urei no FUNNY MAN

Top 10 Songs

  1. U-TOPIA
  3. Soul survivor
  5. Words Of The Wise Man~toki no okurimono~
  8. Change Your Sight
  10. Garbera