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L/R: Vocal Side

With a catchy title track, 'Go Where No One's Gone Before', performed by Billy Preston, fans of L/R have reason enough to pick up this CD, the latest in Pioneer's domestic anime soundtrack releases. Luckily, the rest of the music is extremely listenable, making this an outstanding soundtrack any audiophile should snag.

There's a wide variety of styles and sounds here, which is what makes the music so good, even when listened to separately from the show. There's a very strong classic-rock undercurrent running through many of the tracks on this CD. For example, 'Always' by Yoshiki Fukuyama reminds me of Queen, with impressively harmonious vocals. Sumitada Azumano's 'Five-Eighths' is reminiscent of The Beatles, though I'm not sure whether it was written that way purposefully, and I can't help but think of U2 when I hear the guitar riffs in 'Tell Me Something More'. However, these similarities aren't bad, even if they are more than my imagination, but rather they add a nice touch of familiarity to a collection of songs that I enjoy anyway.

Aside from the rock-themed tunes, some are softer and slower, such as 'All I Need is Your Smile', by Kosei Asami, and a longer version of Noel's (Mikako Takahashi's) 'ANGE', with participation from the Island children.

There are thirteen tracks on the disc, and they're all vocal tracks from the show. There's a ten-page insert in the jewel case with full lyrics of every song on the disc. Lyrics that were originally in Japanese (essentially only the end theme, 'Wishing Moment', or 'Negainotoki') get a translation as well as a Romanized version of the Japanese lyrics. This is the way soundtrack translations should be done.

Not everything is perfect, though I'm not sure if these nitpicky points are in fact problems. Sometimes, the printed lyrics don't match what the vocalists are saying, though it's never off by more than a word or two. This happens all the time in many domestic CD inserts, so I don't mind it too much. Translation isn't perfect either, as you may notice on the cover blurb, which says "In 2003...you will meet the extraordinary cool Agents in all fiction...Their intelligent, elegance, and some secrets past will be fashion. And everything they touch will turn to excitement...How do I call this story? This is straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety. They are called L/R...who are...Licensed by Royalty."

Now, there's no way to translate bad English. It can be 'fixed', but leaving it purposely...Japanese-ish...is charming in a way. Again, I'm getting the CD for the content, not for the grammar on the cover, but here's one instance where authenticity can be goofy.

Overall, this is a great release. The CD is good enough to make you want to watch the show, and if you've seen the show, then you've probably already been convinced to get the CD. Either way, looks like Pioneer has found another winner.

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