When asked about the inspiration behind S.S. HANAMI, frontman Robert Adams replies, "I try to write songs that make me feel the same way the most moving scenes from my favorite anime make me feel. There's something about that particular style of art that affects me deeply. I want to create that sort of world through the music and through the band's presentation."
Original Soundtrack, Season One really does convey the impression that S.S. HANAMI is, at heart, more than just simply a band -- it's an anime, and these songs are the soundtrack. Over the course of its 36-minute runtime, this album conveys an entire season's worth of styles and emotions, while still managing to add up to a cohesive whole.
Adams plays the koto (Japanese harp) on a handful of tracks, such as fan-favorite "Eternal Autumn" where, half-way through the song, infectious alt-rock verses give way to a haunting koto solo, accompanied only by a campfire and the sounds of the forest at night; or the intimate "Yukimi" where traditional Japanese and Chinese instrumentation combine with ambient synths and swirling atmospherics to create a cold, cinematic soundscape.
S.S. HANAMI's Visual Kei influences are perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the dramatic, funereal "Callipolis," where pipe organ and ominous peals of thunder resonate alongside Jeff Stanton's virtuoso guitarwork and Andrew Wiggins' driving tom rolls to conjure images of an oppressive Gothic cathedral.
While excelling at theatrics, the band also proves itself very capable at no-frills four-piece rock in the album's closer "Intervals," which is infused with a subtle touch of elegance by James Brinkle Jr.'s waltz-like bassline. The diverse collection of songs finds a common element in Adams' carefully crafted lyrics, which he sings with vulnerability and conviction on every track.