Mrs. GREEN APPLE are a young band filled with young members but their music is self-assured and well-realized. They play with the youthful energy of a mid-2000s pop punk group or a rock band like Number Girl but lack the amateurish charm of the former and have too neat a sound to be directly associated with the latter; it’s decidedly pop music. And characteristic of many other contemporary J-pop groups, the instrumentation is noticeably precise. Each note feels calculated, but not sterile, and is mixed effectively to allow each instrument to serve their own purpose. There’s a cohesive interplay that helps with pacing too. On lead single “ナニヲナニヲ”, the verses are anchored by consistent bass lines that let the drums comfortably play an offbeat rhythm. With this foundation set, the synth and guitars can play an accessory role in the second half of each verse, essentially noodling around and keeping things interesting. But even when they peak in the bridge with their clashing solos, none of it feels overwrought.
Perhaps the most crucial element to Mrs. GREEN APPLE’s sound is lead vocalist 大森元貴. His voice is always positioned front and center in the mix while the rest of the instruments surround it. And considering his technical ability, it makes sense to let it be a focal point. Closing track “WaLL FloWeR” best demonstrates the range of his delivery and the ease with which he can switch between pitch, tempo, and tone. He can handle the more reserved passages but also knows how to liven up the chorus, and it’s all done with an understated elegance. And ultimately, the way his voice is utilized proves to be another testament to the group’s incredible songwriting. In the pre-chorus, his fluctuating vocal melody is enough to propel the song forward. By the time the chorus enters its second half, the drums slow to half-time to shift the impetus of the song to the sung high notes. The rest of Progressive displays this same attention to detail and it proves to be the band’s greatest strength. This was already obvious for anyone who had heard Mrs. GREEN APPLE’s first release but it’s been less than a year and their hooks are catchier and their overall sound tighter. There’s a long future ahead for this five-piece—two are still teenagers and the rest aren’t much older. With such a strong start, it’s exciting to see how they’ll continue to grow.