Falcom Vocal Special J.D.K. BAND 3
Falcom J.D.K. Band 3 Vocal Special tends to receive a lot of bad press compared to other albums released by Falcom's in-house band. That's principally because it's so different from their previous instrumental albums, yet clearly the clue is in the title. Those who don't enjoy Falcom's vocal tracks should avoid this one at all costs. However, the album won't be bad for those who are prepared to approach it without too many expectations.
Multifaceted band arranger Tomohiko Kishimoto actually takes the lead for most of the album. His vocals are certainly a select taste, but somehow still seem to complement the sound he has built for the J.D.K. Band. The opener, Brandish 2's "Turn It Up", starts softly but soon enough Kishimoto takes up the pace. He soon starts offering driving vocal performances and passionate guitar performances. As with the successor "Stranger", this arrangement manages to rock, yet still be exceedingly light and poppy too. It's quite an achievement.
Perhaps some parts of the album will be too cheesy for some people's tastes, however. The most obvious example would be "She's Like So Hot", which as the name suggests, is a big cringe-worthy cheese factory. The Legend of Heroes II's "Grostus Castle" is transformed almost beyond recognition into a high-pitched vocal anthem. Unsurprisingly, the two performances of Popful Mail are also very feathery too. "Menu" still might appeal for its extended instrumental sections, however.
Several tracks also feature female vocals by Yayoi Yamashita and Yuka Nagaori. "Only One Diamond" is an undeniably catchy and refreshing version of Ys II's "Too Full With Love", complete with a showy but not over-the-top guitar solo, while Ys III's "Departure at Sunrise" sounds more beautiful than ever in its lavishly orchestrated version here. Another popular ending theme — Ys' "See You Again" — is also interpreted in "You Are The Only One". It's cheesy as hell, but that was always the point of the original. In some ways, the vocal arrangement actually sounds more natural than the original itself and that's no easy acheivement!
Overall, Falcom J.D.K. Band 3 should be approached as one of Falcom's vocal albums, not as one of Falcom's rock arrangements. It's totally different from its predecessors, but not necessarily bad nevertheless. However, most who dislike cheesy vocals will also generally hate this album. Consider your purchase wisely as this will either become one of the biggest stinkers in your collection or a surprisingly appealing listen.
Vocals: Tomohiko Kishimoto (1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10)
Yayoi Yamashita (2, 3, 5)
Yuka Nagaori (4, 8)
Composed by Falcom Sound Team J.D.K.
Arranged by Tomohiko Kishimoto
Performed by J.D.K. BAND
Tracks are arrangements of the following tracks:
Track 1: Dora Doran (Brandish 2)
Track 2: Stranger ~ Wandering Swordsman (Brandish 2)
Track 3: Peace (Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II)
Track 4: Too Full With Love (Ys II)
Track 5: Grostus Castle (Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II)
Track 6: Departure at Sunrise (Ys III)
Track 7: Jungle Battle (Popful Mail)
Track 8: See You Again (Ys)
Track 9: Menu (Popful Mail)
Track 10: Ending (Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes II)
TURN IT UP
ONLY ONE DIAMOND
SHE'S LIKE SO HOT
DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE
TAKE ME TO THE TOP
YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE
(time will be) ROUND'N' ROUND