Review by Jen Wang
BIGMAMA has done it again, blending classical and rock in a completely unique manner. Rather than covering or sampling from classical music pieces, the band has used them as inspiration for original songs. Roclassick2 reimagines some familiar pieces from childhood piano lessons or high school band days that will please fans of any genres.
The first track, “Animanimus”, begins with a steady crescendo of piano and strings before launching into electric guitar. The violin re-enters with Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5”, and the resulting blend, backed by rapid-fire drums, creates a powerful symphonic metal sound. It is a great first impression. BIGMAMA carries that momentum into “Swan Song”. As the name suggests, it is inspired by Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, which is played beautifully by violinist Mao Higashide. She varies the familiar melody’s tempo to build drama while Hideto Yasui gives the song a funky edge with his slap bass.
“No. 9” brings in a mix of electric and acoustic guitars by Masato Kanai and Hiroya Kakinuma. It shows off Kanai’s falsetto but overall, is an typical alternative rock number. Even the part with “Ode to Joy” sounds pretty standard. On the other hand, “Royalize” displays BIGMAMA’s softer side. It’s a dreamy piece layered onto the muffled piano of “Gymnopédie No.1” by Erik Satie. Ib Riad’s drumming supplies energy to the andante tempo of the melody, and Kakinuma’s electric arpeggios become a third voice, accompanying Kanai’s vocals and the piano.
“Perfect Grey” brings back some of the funk, this time with the guitar. Again, Higashide’s violin supplies the classical element—a mischievous rendition of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. Then the band goes pop with “bambino bambina”. The infectious melody and the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” on electric guitar casts the austere graduation tune in a new light. This is the song for the after-party. Roclassick2 concludes with the romantic “Moonlight”, based on Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”. The piano, vocals, and drums blend three very different voices, creating a conversation that spans genres. It is a perfect summation of what BIGMAMA has achieved a second time in this concept album.