acoustic folk indie j-folk music review singer songwriter

Yae – “Blue Line” Review

yaeYae, possibly most famous from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has a mighty fine repertoire behind her and this her second album Blue Line is the quietest and most delicate of them.

Yae’s instrumentation lays firmly in the acoustic old and Yae’s voice is silky smooth and angelic. “Fly” is the beautiful opener. Flowing piano plinks up and down the scales whilst the strings slowly build and soar as Yae melts your heart with sincerity. “Carol” is a short vocal embu showing her vocal layering talents. “Blue” then returns to a more muted piano that repeats the same riff whilst a lot of really bizarre instruments bend and twist around in the background. It creates a celestial element to the track as various bells and such are bent out of fashion. Guitars and keyboards seep in to fill the voids and it’s all beautifully eerie. “Nagaku Nobita Kage Wo Oikakete” is a further extension from this taking away the piano and guitar base and leaving ambient noises and synthesised bass and keyboard bleeps to lead the way. It works surprisingly well as Yae pushes her vocals right up front here.

Things return to the J-Folk way with “Sally” which see’s traditional percussion, guitars and soft keyboard pads leading the way with a lazy laid back track with a strong chorus. “Koi No Shitsuke” on the other hand feels like something of a musical orgasm! Starting out almost as a vocal only track guitar and drums are added in slowly and the pace starts to increase over verses and choruses until it’s a rapid fire rush to the soul. It’s so uplifting and enlightening to listen to – fabulous. “Hi No Ateru Oka De” was before the Hawaiian album the closest she had been to the genre. Whimsy Ukulele, sliding guitars and echoing shimmering backing vocals it’s like basking in the sun. “Omosayo” is like a traditional calling or summoning chant. A very small amount of Shamisen can be heard in the background but aside from that it’s all Yae’s vocals powering out.

The back third of the album returns to abstract ballad technique in force throughout the album with “Koi No Hana” which seems to have lots of twisting cog or screws along with xylphone for good measure. This is one of my favourites on the album. There’s something so simple and pure about the whole thing – its touching. “Kaze No Yuta” is the token English spoken track on the album. It’s gentle but one of two songs featuring a full band. Yae’s English is good and the whole thing has a Western sunshine feel to it with some excellent guitar and percussion work. “Tenshi” is a xylophone and vocal track that leads quietly to the reflective piano outro “Drop of Water”.

“Blue Line” is delicately beautiful. It’s not my favourite work of Yae’s but this is the relaxers purist album. Yae’s vocals and delivery always shine and whilst it may be a tad gentile for some, I get lost in its melodies.

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