01 - In Your Voice
02 - Impossible
03 - I cry
04 - Just shout it out
05 - See You Later
06 - In Your Voice (Instrumental Version)
07 - Impossible (Instrumental Version)
08 - I cry (Instrumental Version)
09 - Just shout it out (Instrumental Version)
10 - See You Later (Instrumental Version)
The vocal album to the game developed by irem, "Ponkotsu Roman" can be translated as "Junk Romance," and "Daikatsugeki" is best translated as "Great Riot." The game is being released in the US (by Atlus) as "Steambot Chronicles." Containing only five vocals (and instrumental counterparts to each song), this short album is more of an EP than a full vocal album for Ponkotsu Roman. Each song is sung in English by Nadia Gifford, a semi-accomplished vocalist in Japan (primarily for children's albums). How do these songs sound?
In my opinion, these songs are simply beautiful. Simple is a key word here. The melodies are simple, the lyrics are plain, and there is very little flash or pizzazz in these songs. However, each song has its own sound, and I was impressed by each one for different reasons. I will speak in depth about my two favorite songs.
"Just shout it out" opens with some beautiful vocal work (that sounds like Joanne Hogg, atypical of Gifford's standard sound), and then she begins to sing the song. The verse and chorus both use some awesome chord progressions, with lots of minor seven chords carried by a piano and a strummed acoustic guitar. The bass jumps around fifths and does some slides, and everything sounds good. Then, at the bridge, things get jazzy with lots of upper harmonics added to the chords, and then the "soft" chorus transitions into the outro. I love this song.
"I cry" has somewhat less cheesy lyrics than the other songs, and this is one of many positives about this song. My favorite thing about this song is the layered vocal work in the chorus. A second female vocalist put some work into the "ooh / aah" harmonies, and the added effort makes all the difference. This emotionally-powered ballad gets stronger and stronger, and eventually an electric guitar joins the mix, and that's when it gets power-packed. The sample provided gives you a glimpse of this sound in the last ten seconds, but I promise that it gets better.
How these vocals are used in the game, I am not sure. What I do know is that the sound of these songs fits perfectly with the artwork and design concept of the game. If the buzz about this game is getting you excited, then I heartily recommend you pick up this vocal album before it becomes impossible to find. I was able to get it on sale at Play Asia for a remarkably cheap $13. Look for other great deals before it goes permanently out of print.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann