Review Summary: M.O.V.E's debut album shows the band at their strongest state, and is also also arguably one of their strongest releases to date.
Back in the mid-late 90's, electronica was at an all-time high as far as popularity went in Japan. Big names like Globe and M.O.V.E were leading the electropop revolution, while minor names like Pamelah and Iceman folded a few years after they started. What kept M.O.V.E afloat, and original from the competition was that they had a very unique, sometimes dizzying, mixture to them. Comprising of raps from hypeman vocalist, Motsu (real name Mototaka Segawa), soft, yet often also strong, vocals from main vocalist Yuri, as well as experimenting with various styles of electronica and blending it with a pop rock kinda sound, M.O.V.E quickly made a name for themselves as being one of the most original electro bands in Japan, period. When M.O.V.E released their debut album, "Electrock", in 1998, electro fans were given a present that was both experimental in sound, while still managing to be a danceable and entertaining piece.
The album kicks off with the track, "Bust the Future Wall", which is an effective piece that experiments with a bigbeat style, and is a solid track to start the classic album off with. Motsu's raps are the center of this track, while Yuri makes an appearance towards the chorus and bridge. The album then goes off in "Around the World", which truly kicks the album off, as it successfully steers the album in a nightclub direction, without losing its balance of Motsu's raps and Yuri's vocals, which retains the true sound of M.O.V.E. The album then starts off the track, "Rage Your Dream", which is not only one of the album's signature tracks, but also one of the band's signature tracks. This time, the track centers around Yuri's vocals, and less on Motsu's raps. The track is sort of reminiscent to Globe's earlier style (especially around the self-titled era), which doesn't hurt the style of the album at all. It actually gives the album a breath of fresh air, since Globe haven't revisited this style in years, which gives M.O.V.E an advantage of some sort. In short, the track is superb, and highly effective in its attempts to channel earlier electropop styles (Globe, to be specific). "Wanna Fly to Be Wild" brings the bigbeat style back, but blends it with the signature M.O.V.E style, making it not only a superb track, but also another bright spot for the album, topping even the "Rage Your Dream" track. "Rock It Down" continues the album's golden streak, as it features a disco-like bass-line, accompanied by a rather unique, electro style, that further shows off the undeniable potential of the group. "Blowin' Wind" starts off as a mere trance filler, before kicking off as a melodious electropop track, that centers around Yuri's premature vocals, with a nice sprinkle of Motsu's raps, making it one of the few solo tracks Yuri has on the album. And a hell of a solo track at that.
"See You, My Best Love" once again channels the style of Globe, bearing an undeniable melody similarity of "Wanderin' Destiny". This alone makes the track one of the very few weak tracks on the album. The next track, "Overdrive", saves the album's potential, and brings back the virtually indescribable style of M.O.V.E, that blends various styles of electronica in a 4-and-a-half minute track. "Take Me Higher" is a more straightforward track, that has an electrodisco sound that was humongous in Japan at the time, and once again focuses on Yuri's vocals and melodies. The tone of the track goes perfectly with the vocal style of Yuri, and has a pure sound to it, sprinkled with a 90's nostalgia kick. A perfect melodious dance track with no visible flaws in tact. The album closes with the downbeat "Past Days ~Tsuioku~", which has a departure feel to it, slowly bringing the listener back to reality, and closing the classic 90's electronica album the best way it can. In short, a picture-perfect closing track for an outstanding debut.
Whether you found the band through the anime, Initial D, or through the internet somehow, the fact remains that M.O.V.E are one of the most talented groups to surface out of the humongous Japanese electro/synthpop movement in the 90's. "Electrock" truly shows off the style of the trio (later turned duo) in the brightest light, which they haven't since recaptured. If you're interested in some solid electro-synthpop, that explores various electronica styles as well, without truly losing its focus, then check out M.O.V.E.