Comprised of 5 members, 4 vocalists (Kiria, Mizuki, Ayathimu & Alice) and DJ Goichi, the group was formed in 2014 under the name ‘principal!’ and became cana÷biss in 2017 after a major change to the line-up. Releasing their first album under their new name later that year, they have since continued to work on various things, performing at TIF in 2018 as well as regular performances in Niigata, Tokyo and other areas nationally in Japan. In 2019 they released their second album as cana÷biss, this album went on to be the top J-Pop album on iTunes in Austria.
They debuted the song Hello. New Life at their one-man live in October 2022 and on December 14 it was released as the title track of their new single, along with the song Acacia. Having worked together with Baku Maruyama (a crowd of rebellion) and Sohei Mishima in the past, the group once again turned to these established musicians for the lyrics/composition of the songs, with Baku working on Hello. New Life and Sohei working on Acacia.
A song that is full of energy and a fast tempo, Hello. New Life has a sound that is instantly recognisable as being performed by an idol unit – to the point where you can easily envision the penlights in the air as the members sing and dance on the stage. It utilises several changes in pitch and tempo that idol fans may find familiar as it seems to be commonplace in songs from various groups. However, that does not detract from the quality of the song in any way.
In fact, there is a happy feeling conveyed in the performance, which is both vocally and compositionally as strong as you would expect from a group that has been together for several years. After the release of the single, a music video for the song was also released which, while simple in its concept, seems like it is a suitable companion to the song. The video features the 5 members performing the song against a LED screen wall, with the changes to the display tying in well with the energy of the song.
The second track on the single is a power ballad that has a much slower and softer backing track. This allows the member’s vocals to come to the fore and put across a very powerful, emotionally charged performance. The format is a familiar one, with individual members taking turns to sing different verses or individual lines of the song and then multiple members coming together at points where the song builds into a crescendo and that extra kick is needed to raise the intensity of the feelings that the song is creating and conveying.
There is a big difference between the style of the two songs, and while I think that they could have included a third track on the release to offset the emotion of Acacia at the end which may have balanced things out a bit more, the work together on the single as it gives a broad indication of the abilities of the group which makes it a good entry release for anyone that has not listened to them before.
Overall, both songs were performed and put together very well, which may be expected of a group that has been around for a long time, but it is not always a guarantee. The only thing that is unclear in the songs and the video is the role of the DJ, perhaps that is more evident in their other releases.