Not to say that the album is bad--it's still a relatively enjoyable listen, but nowhere on the same level of engaging listenability as its predecessor. I think part of Purple Drop's problem is one of sequencing, but also one of tone. The album opens on a cooler note with the discofunk tune "Luv Sauce", which uses cool synths alongside its funk guitar, which is a bit different from the warmer piano and acoustic guitar loops used on the first album. The energy stays relatively cool on the following "Simple Life" although the pairing of Humming Girl and Shina-E's vocals is relatively engaging.
It's not really until the album's big single, "Hawaiian Couple" that the album really picks up. This particular single is one of the album's few highlights with a delightful back and forth between I Jirin and Humming Girl and the return of the acoustic guitar combined with Jirin's soft vocals result in a rather warmer approach which is more inviting. Similarly, the latin beats and the saxophone of the following "Stalker" as well as Shina-E's adorable vocals really helps make it the other bright spot on the album.
From there we get back to the cooler dance oriented sounds of "Delight Disco" and "Sugarparty Flow" and those two tracks hold up well with their driving energy. Even the Sin City monologue-fueled "Goldie", with its lumbering rhythms, pianos, and saxophone manage to make for an oddly romantic inclusion that works surprisingly well. And all this, I think, works because of the placement of "Hawaiian Couple" and "Stalker" to help inject the listen with brightness and energy before the album gets to the business of serious party music.
The album fortunately decides to take an intermission from the party music again towards its end, turning on the traditional Japanese sounding "ヤメアツクサ" and "Sakamoto", the latter which blends rapping from YeSLow with its kokyu. The album closes with a callback to the first album's "Scully Doesn't Know" with "Mulder Does Know", solidifying the connection between the tracks and The X-Files.
I actually think if Purple Drop were shortened, dropping everything before "Hawaiian Couple" or perhaps pushing them towards the end of the album or spreading the tracks through the album a bit more, it would be a more enjoyable listen. As it is, it opens up far too cool and detached to really get into and it takes almost twenty minutes before the playfulness that makes Humming Urban Stereo such an engaging listen shows up. The latter thirty-some minutes are actually wholly enjoyable, so I think the weakness with Purple Drop is really a matter of album sequencing and putting too many cool-tempered tracks at the top. That and perhaps the album is a touch too long as even though I was enjoying the last few tracks, I always feel a bit of listening fatigue by the last few tracks, which is why it's a welcome relief that the energy level drops towards the end.
So with two-thirds of the album being the enjoyable Humming Urban Stereo that I remember from very very nice! and short cake, I still think it's a good listen, particularly for fans of Humming Urban Stereo or the indie poptronica sound that he trades in, but because it takes a while for the album to warm up and it runs a little long, I think it's more for those already invested in the artist or the genre. 7/10
- Déjà Vu Synth
- Luv Sauce
- Simple Life
- Salsa Woman
- Waltz Sofa #2
- Hawaiian Couple
- Delight Disco
- Sugarparty Flow
- Abuse Girl
- Melancholy Baby
- Mulder Does Know