Of all the Jr. Exile groups, The Rampage have consistently been my favorite. Though they have sixteen (!) members among their rank, I’ve always found their trio of vocalists to be their greatest appeal. Group center Kawamura Kazuma is a particularly magnetic performer, with one of the most charismatic hip-hop tones of this pop era. The Rampage are coming off an incredible double-hitter of singles, with Swag & Pride and Fullmetal Trigger refining their bombastic sound while pushing them in new directions.
When Invisible Love was announced as the group’s first “ballad” single, I wasn’t sure how the end product would turn out. Though I love the vocalists, The Rampage’s appeal has always hinged on their explosive energy. But, Invisible Love turns out to be more of a sultry, electronic mid-tempo than actual ballad, and it employs some appealing tricks to keep it from becoming monotonous.
Chief among these production flourishes is a heavily-filtered vocal riff that opens the track and continues as a post-chorus hook during Love’s second half. This otherworldly effect proves surprisingly compelling and gives the track a real unique texture. It also fits perfectly with the instrumental’s delicate backbeat, which fuses rain drop synths with brassy accents. And as expected, Invisible Love is a great showcase for the group’s vocal trio. The chorus pulses with an addictive push-and-pull blend of power and falsetto, and creates a nice anchor when compared to the more malleable verses. But, the song’s knockout punch occurs during its finale, when the melodic tension increases and the guys get to really belt it out. In the world of The Rampage, Invisible Love would be considered quite restrained. Yet, thanks to its unique instrumental and unpredictable structure, it’s never boring.
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