Shinshoku Dolce, the debut album from singer, cellist and illustrator Kanon Wakeshima, has the stamp of producer Mana all over it. Sure, Kanon is able to project her own voice, both literally and figuratively, throughout the album, most notably in her cello playing. Yet despite the obvious emphasis on her cello skill, the music is oddly thin on any actual cello playing. Or rather, the cello is there, but it’s more often than not pushed aside for the more electronic elements, like all the drum machines, burbling synths and other frilly gothic bits.
Technical nit-picking aside, Shinshoku Dolce is actually a rather nice and solid package. Kanon is known for her love of fairy tales, and it certainly is reflected on the album. Her music isn’t exactly meant to be taken too seriously in the first place, and the playful darkness is perfectly maintained by Mana’s deep understanding of the genre. The languid atmosphere of “Still Doll” and “Kagami” is offset somewhat on more electro/pop tracks like “Ennui Kubun!” and “L’espoir -Mahou no Akai Ito-” (the French fascination should come as no surprise to long time vis-kei and goth-loli fans, nor fans of Mana.) She even manages to sink into more aggressive territory on “Suna no Oshiro”and “Kuroi Torikago” which feature her cello playing much more prominently along with Mana’s darker cyber rock.
Overall, Shinshoku Dolce delivers exactly what you might expect from the first female act Mana has taken under his dark wing. Namely, light, airy songs with innocent fairy tale themes. A small, sweet treat to be nibbled during those oh-so-languid afternoons.
Label: Maru Music / DefSTAR Records Inc.