LDH’s Newest Girl Group – iScream

Back when they debuted in June, I wrote up in Monthly Favorites that I would be talking about this group more. It’s been awhile since I’ve wrote about musicians and related activities so forgive me for being a bit rusty. I’ve grown incredibly fond of iScream over the past few months, with them regularly cropping up in my rotation for music, so now it’s time to talk about them here!

Background

iScream is composed of Yuna, Hinata and Rui. Yuna and Hinata being recruited to join LDH after placing as finalists in “LDH PRESENTS THE GIRLS AUDITION” in 2018. Rui being the winner of that audition, and for a brief time was an informal soloist of LDH.

This is from the audition period, seen in their documentary, and sourced from here. L to R: Yuna, Rui, and Hinata.

Rui, prior to iScream’s debut, released four songs as a soloist. “Lilac” being released in November 2019, and used as the inspiration for the short film “魔女に焦がれて” of the 2019 Cinema Fighters Project その瞬間、僕は泣きたくなった. In 2020, both “一輪の花” and “枯れゆく声” were part of the movie soundtrack for The God of Novels. In 2021, two months prior to iScream’s debut she released her final song “Day dream ~白昼夢〜” which was the ending theme of My Blood & Bones in a Flowing Galaxy. All of which can be heard here on Rui’s Unofficial Spotify page.

They also have an interesting origin story to their name/group concept. The “i” representing “愛”. “Scream” representing “を叫ぶ”. When put together it reads as “愛を叫ぶ” or “to shout love”. With their goal being to spread love through their music. Which was explained in their debut showcase on August 11th, and prior interviews. [I used this Yahoo! Japan article as a reference.]

Their pre-debut image, as well as both the cover art for “Maybe… YES” and “Himawari” were designed by the artist Yamaguchi Harumi. Their artistic direction being covered by YOSHIROTTEN for the “Maybe… Yes” music video as well. I used this Natalie Music article as a reference as well as the original Instagram post caption.

Logo is from their official website.

In 2019, the group line up was finalized, and officially debuted June 23rd 2021. As of writing the group has released their debut EP “Maybe… YES” and their first digital single “Himawari” on September 3rd! They are also slated to released their song “愛はだけど…” later this year in relation to the 4th installment of the CINEMA FIGHTERS collection but no further details have been announced.

You can find them officially on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Tik Tok. In addition they also are on LDH’s platform CL, and have their music up on Spotify as well.


Initial Opinions

I think that iScream are taking the LDH girls division in a completely new direction. In terms of promotion and management I think they’re miles ahead of their seniors with preparedness. They update regularly and know how to cross promote well. They’re the first girl group that’s releasing music under LDH Records from the start, so no more Avex and Rhythem Zone throttling music video and pushing for physical sales. iScream knows that digital sales and streaming is the way of the future.

iScream also didn’t languish away forever as backup dancers. They had a pretty quick turn around from being recruited after the audition, to debuting. I have suspicions that they were suppose to debut in 2020. After all their entire debut EP was performed when they were openers for E-Girls then. But the pandemic messed with everyone’s plans so things happen. Hopefully they keep a steady stream of music coming after this!

As far as I’ve seen in their interviews, their debut live, and what we’ve been shown in their Youtube documentary “iScream Document Movie 〜Scream Our Dreams〜” the girls have good chemistry. They all trained at various EXPG studios, and met at the same audition. They’re all around the same age, and have the same passion for music. By having such a small group I’m hoping that this continues to foster their group dynamic and they can be the the next big trio of Jpop! That’s quite the goal for them, but honestly I think they have the raw talent and versatility to try for it!

About my only hang up at the moment is potential favoritism. It’s not prevalent at the moment aside from Rui’s prior work as a soloist. As far as I can tell in the media currently available, each member gets equal parts in any particular interview, song, video, etc. There’s definitely a pattern in their EP of most songs starting with Rui, following with Yuna, and then Hinata. I think this is more based on current vocal strengths and abilities, verses favoritism. I have faith that this will change as the girls tackle more concepts and styles in the future. It’s a major plus that the girls don’t have assigned roles, and that this will hopefully be a non-issue.


First EP Opinions


Overall, I think this was the safest bet when it comes to a debut title track. It has the right balance of being fresh, fun, with youth mixed in but not childish. The lyrics aren’t the most ground breaking or thought provoking, but they are catchy and relatable. Which I honestly think is more important when you’re aiming for the pre-teen/teen audience that iScream seems to be marketing towards.

Musicially, each of the girls brings a lot to the table. Rui has the most stable range by far which makes sense given her background. Yuna and Hinata aren’t far behind her at all in terms raw talent. Yuna’s got richness in her voice that’s really striking and works well in tandem to both Yuna and Hinata. Hinata is probably the hidden charm of the group. Her vocal color is both incredibly striking in comparison to Rui and Yuna, but also works really well in the harmonies. As for the track itself; it’s a bop! There’s a lot of fun elements, like piano, snapping, and moer that just really give it a really refreshing vibe.

The only drawback is that this debut does feel very ‘safe’. Visually and musically, there’s nothing outlandish to really get people listening after their initial curiosity. This isn’t a bad thing, but doesn’t quite qork out in their favor. iScream really has to bank on people hearing their vocals and knowing how talented they are. But, I wouldn’t keep talking about them if I didn’t think they’re headed towards big things like their second track!


“Scream Out” I would consider to be a significantly stronger track. Mostly since it has more energy, and commands attention when watching the performance video or even just listening. If “Maybe… YES” was the more sweet side of iScream, “Scream Out” is the more passionate side of them. It’s got just a bit of edge to it, and for sure is the track that’s meant to get the crowd fired up when they perform live!

The biggest draw of this track is that it shows off their versatility. They aren’t just girls in love, they have a self motivated side to them too! They do it all via vocal performance, not a shoe horned rap in sight. We have the prior established dynamics of the girl’s before but taken up a notch of intensity.

There’s a few nit-picks. There’s a few oddities in the English pronunciation. None that are completely awful but I did have to double check the lyrics after the first listen. I can’t tell if these are just due to how the girls are singing it or mixing but at times it comes off a bit garbled. Something that will be smoothed out with some vocal coaching and english lessons, as well as practice. The lyrics leave a bit to be desired when you read them out. I won’t deny that at the end of the day; this song is still gets me pumped up and ready to start my day!


So first things first, this is the first track where I think all three members got to really cut loose and really sing. There’s just so much personality and passion in this track. It really embodies being both sugary sweet, but having a massive impact. I credit a lot of that to the funky opening notes that never subside and really keep it pushing.

The song is really positive and uplifting, encouraging the listener to keep going forward and trying. (lyrics in Japanese only for reference) While this is the first time I noticed a huge change in line distribution, it was an excellent choice. You can tell that every line given to Rui, Yuna, or Hinata really suited their vocal color and talent presently. Not to mention that each member really gave it their all in each line! This is also the first time we get a little taste of improvisation, around three minutes and I believe provided by Yuna. It’s just so… striking. It’s such a fun track overall!

While I might have nit-picked “Scream Out”‘s English; “Sugar Bomb” doesn’t have these problems. You can clearly understand every English line in the track, and their delivery has personality to it that really sells it. It’s really interesting track to say the least. And while I hate comparing groups directly; “Sugar Bomb” really reminded me of E-Girls earlier discography in the best sort of way. It was a little nostalgic in a way, but “Sugar Bomb” really stands out as it’s own entity.


I have to be honest here and say that “Pendulum” is my favorite track by far. It straddles the line of where iScream is starting and where the group will hopefully go. It’s got a flavor that has their signature youthful spirit we’ve seen in all prior tracks, but also has notes of maturity to it that compliment and raise the bar.

This is another track where I think the girls really got it right and let themselves feel it and sing, but not over sing. There’s just this subtle, somewhat playful delivery to it that really has you putting the song on loop. I can honestly here, that every line from each member was so intentional but so passionate that it really takes the cake of this EP. And lyrically; this song to my reading and comprehension is probably the strongest we’ve seen so far. I love the instrumental to this track. There’s just so many fun elements that are so unique that it feels a bit wild, comparing the beginning to end especially, but it’s all seamlessly put together that it feels so strong and cohesive.

Overall, I can’t recommend “Pendulum” enough. It really shows where iScream, at 16-17 years old are currently and for sure where they will go in the future.


First Digital Single Opinion


Now when I first heard this song during their debut live, I got some major chills. Like the kind that have your entire arm broken out and you have to go ‘whoa’ under your breath after hearing it. Ballads like “Himawari” are best experienced live after all. So I wasn’t actually sure how well the song would transition into a digital single. I find a lot of power ballads are amazing during live performances, but lack a bit outside of them.

Boy was I wrong in the best sort of way.

“Himawari” has the commanding presence of “Scream Out”, the more girlish sensibilities of “Maybe… Yes”, and the absolute vocal control of both “Sugar Bomb” and “Pendulum” but wrapped up and expanded upon in a power ballad. Genuinely, no matter how many times I re-write this section I can’t probably express how impressed I am with it. These girls are so young, and have me waxing nostalgic over long gone partners of mine. I can not get over it, and I don’t think I ever will. Those soaring notes we get from Hinata around 50 seconds in and Yuna around 1:10 and again at 3:10? Plus Rui’s throughout? The absolute control and intuition these girls possess is insane.

Of course, I’m not sure how intentional this was but the MV is a bit reminiscent of Dream’s “Darling” MV. It has it’s own personality and color of course, but as a still-not-over-Dream fan and now of course a fan of iScream it’s a nice touch. I believe that Yuna also plays a bit of piano so I can dream that one day she’ll be comfortable enough to perform as a pianist and singer one day in the future. I’m also really happy that we get to see another side of iScream with a ballad so soon. They really have the chops to pull it off and I’m hyped for their next release.


Final Thoughts

We are now over 2000 words into this semi-profile, semi-review piece on iScream. I’m sure that you can tell I’m very passionate for this group and hope nothing but the best for them. Truly, in my opinion of course, they are one of the most talented girl groups to debut in Jpop in a very long time. They have so much raw talent between the three of them, and it’s already coming together so nicely.

I hope that in this read-along, listening-along that you have found something of interest about these girls. Be it their image, their personalities, their music, even if aren’t completely sold now you will be. Come back in a month or two and I promise there will be something new for you to discover, “愛はだけど…” anyone?, or you’ll re-listen and realize the error of your ways be sure to check in once in awhile to see how it’s going.

Again, be sure to check them out through official means via their website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Tik Tok, Spotify and on CL Steaming as well. I’d love to know if my piece helped you learn something about the group, or if it helped you fall in love of course. Otherwise, I will see you next post!

One comment

  1. Thanks for this. I believe that they’re going in the right direction and all that as well. Hopefully, LDH manages them better than the girl groups of the past. I liked their debut EP but I wish they’d used Pendulum as the title track (it’s my favourite too). Sugar Bomb was cool too. Scream out was okay to me. I’m not a fan of ballads but I liked Himawari as well. I wish them all the best

    Liked by 1 person

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