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Feb 09 2018

Houkago Princess – Abrakatab Luv! (Review)

NEKOPOP-Houkago-Princess-Abracadab-Luv

In a sparkling new release, Houkago Princess transform once again and bring the heat to your winter days with Abrakatab Luv!, a spirited single that features four outstanding tracks. Based on the classic collection of short stories, the titular songs lyrics portrays the tale of a brave and alluring princess and her ability to tell inspiring narratives that ultimately spares her life for more than ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. In this brand new royal release, Houkago Princess deliver an all-new fairy tale sing-along that will leave you wanting more.

Kicking off this release is, of course, the title track, “Abrakatab Luv!”. With a mature vibe in its instrumental and vocals, there is no denying that the leading track fits well with HouPri’s previous two releases from 2017. Unlike its predecessors, however, this track is overtly sensual in sound, favouring an expressive and fluid style that would fit in well with most music associated with the art of belly dancing. It is this style that Houkago Princess seem to revel in, too, despite “Abrakatab Luv!” being the first track to feature such a suggestive tone for the group. Still, it feels like an appropriate song for Houkago Princess to tackle, and there is no denying that this fun, sultry dance track fits these transforming princesses quite well.

“Furten LOVE&ROLL” comes next, and is available on every edition of the single. Though the venture into R&B isn’t exactly new for Houkago Princess, it is seldom done, so the track feels refreshing with its upbeat dance style, cool lyrics and mesmerising vocals. For newer fans, this might seem surprising, but its rollercoaster sound and switch between R&B and pop is a lot of fun, making it one of – if not the – best tracks on the entire release. With its distinct sound and style, it portrays a cool and mature Houkago Princess that is completely different to what we know as listeners. It is an original, neither borrowing nor copying from previous tracks, and allows the group to feel revitalised thanks to its unique instrumental and expressive vocals.

With two songs remaining, Houkago Princess return to their cute, upbeat sound style that they are well known for. Available on the Regular and Solo member editions, “Juliet ~Kimi wo Suki na 100 no Riyuu~ (2017 ver.)” marks its return with a re-recorded version that features the current lineup. A staple in the ever-growing collection of Houkago Princess songs, this is undeniably one of the most well known (and most popular) songs by the group. Cute, catchy and youthful in its sound, the appeal of this song is in its jumpy nature and the nostalgia fans feel when listening to it. This update is, however, undeniably beautiful. The vocals from both Odagiri Nana and Maika feel emotive and clear, and the addition of a little more rock n’ roll to the pop is evident, but not overpowering. As an update, this song still maintains its roots as one of Houkago Princesses earliest tracks, whilst allowing itself to feel fresh and full of even more vigour than the original.

And then there was one. Featured on the Limited and Team Miracle versions of the single release, “Jasmine ~Kimi no Kokoro ga Shinjiru mama ni~” is the first collaboration between Team Miracle (Shirosaki Himari and Kojima Mayumi) and selected members of HouPri YOUTH. With its hopeful and encouraging sound, the upbeat style of “Jasmine ~Kimi no Kokoro ga Shinjiru mama ni~” is a fitting track for the youthful and sweet members of Team Miracle and HouPri YOUTH, and the song itself feels reminiscent of Houkago Princesses older music style. There is no denying that older fans of Houkago Princess will immediately recognise, and perhaps even coin this track as ‘utterly HouPri’, all thanks to its cute, charming sound. Despite its nostalgic value, however, this song still has its own distinct identity, and feels refreshing amidst the more mature tracks that the group has brought out recently.

There is a lot of replay value in this release, mostly because it’s catchy and entertaining thanks to its diverse range of sound and style. No two songs are alike here, and the mixture of both mature and cute tracks is commendable, as is the singles range of genre. It is not just J-pop, bubblegum or dance tracks that we have been given, but an influence of culture and broad music styles that fit Houkago Princess well. It’s a great single release, and a fun way to end 2017 for the Idols who become Princesses after 4pm hits.

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