|Depapepe meets Honey and Clover – Night & Day
|Honey and Clover II
|Depapepe: Yoshinari Tokuoka, Takuya Miura
|October 11, 2006
|1. Night and Day
|2. Pastel Street
|4. First Light
Review: When one thinks of Honey and Clover from the musical angle, the band Spitz and the vocalist Suneohair are most likely the first names to come to mind. Less recognized is the work that the acoustic guitar duo of Yoshinari Tokuoka and Takuya Miura, who together, form Depapepe, have contributed to the show’s second season, but it is nonetheless just as important to the show’s idiom as the better-known insert songs. After all, when you’re dealing with a show that illustrates the ups and downs of love and life, what better way to depict all that than to set it to an acoustic guitar duet?
“Night and Day” does just that from the get-go with its energetic opener that commands one’s attention with the ear-pleasing riffs and the lively aura that shines forth as a result of Tokuoka and Miura’s guitar work and which conjures the image of a wanderer roving about in search of their direction in life. The meandering nature of the melody is suggestive of how convoluted the journey is, but the underlying rhythm possesses that sense of joy and curiosity that comes from enjoying the scenery and investigating those side roads along the way. Complementing that imagery are the rough patches, which you can hear when the guitars shift towards a yearning tone that contrasts nicely with the more confident motives scattered throughout this track. They make for a wonderful aside that adds diversity within the piece without obscuring “Night and Day’s” infectious optimism. The energy that it wields spurs the listener onwards in the journey, resulting in a solid opener that makes me eager to dive deeper into this disc.
Night and Day
The next track, “Pastel Street,” takes a softer turn and moves with a languid pace that befits the title. Here, the gentle ardor from the guitars sweeps me off my feet, offering tones that beckon me to let my mind recall the wonderful memories long past. And just when I thought that’s all there is to it, Depapepe hits that high note and sets each subsequent note lower on the scale so as to create a trickling effect, as though the sun’s rays were filtering slowly down to warm the hearts of those it shines upon. The fabric and colors it draws forth makes for a nice contrast with “Night and Day” as “Pastel Street’s” melody soothes my soul with its sound.
Once the reminiscing sounds subside, this album gets you moving with “Corolla.” The guitars hit a groove early on before segueing to a jaunty tune that bears all the hallmarks of the whimsy and adventuresome spirit of the college road trip. When the guitars move into the higher registers, there’s this sense of freedom. The syncopation used in the track carries with it a feeling of freshness that comes with the change in scenery as one escapes the doldrums of daily routine. The elation sticks with the piece for the entire way through as it bounces from one destination to the next. Its enthusiasm never wanes and I can’t get enough of its exuberance.
Finally, we come to “First Light.” If I were to pick any of the pieces on this album that really captures the essence of Honey and Clover, this one would be it. Right away, the guitars bring out the bittersweetness; sure, the tempo moves quickly which initially makes “First Light” sounds like it’ll be an effusive track. But rather than sing out with joy, a forlorn atmosphere hangs over the piece, as though it were highlighting the time period where one is overcoming one’s emotional pains so as to move on with life. This description aligns with the series to a T and like the series, the undercurrent of optimism persists throughout this track. With the sublime melody in tow, all that’s left to do is to hope, to savor the past, both good and bad, and finally, to move on.
That this album is highly enjoyable is no surprise; Depapepe has been solid at expressing their emotions through their guitar duets. Here, we get four tracks that reflect the many challenges of growing up. In listening to it, I find myself connecting to Honey and Clover once more because, like the characters, I find myself at yet another crossroads, filled with uncertainties, and not quite sure what the next step ought to be. And Depapepe’s music illustrates this conundrum most beautifully.