If I were handing out a “Best Newcomer” award for 2015, Q’ulle would definitely be in the discussion when it comes to potential candidates to take the prize. Although technically, I guess they’re not really a “new” group, but that award category had a pretty wide range of interpretations in the first place so that’s neither here nor there.
Forged from the remnants of former Niconico group DANCEROID, Q’ulle arrived on the scene in January 2015 with the release of their debut single “Mic Check One Two” (yes, this actually came out in 2015, anyone saying differently is wrong). I was instantly hooked by the vocals and guitar driven instrumentals mixed with elements of electronica. Granted, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before, but it’s not like everything can or has to be original at this point. It takes a lot for an idol group to make a strong first impression on me these days but Q’ulle certainly did.
Okay so they had a great debut single, but how many times has that happened and then the follow up hasn’t lived up to expectations? Too many times to count, but that definitely wasn’t the case when “Monster” dropped in late March. It followed a similar formula to “Mic Check”, but with a more serious tone. They didn’t completely smash the mould on this one, but they didn’t have to. “Monster” struck the right balance between being familiar so as not to alienate the current fanbase, but also displayed off some new dimensions to show the group could continue to grow and expand their sound.
Q’ulle followed up the release of “Monster” in May with the release of “Heartbeat”, a more…mainstream sounding J-Pop song than what they’d been showcasing up until now. I can’t say it’s my favorite release of theirs but like I mentioned previously, it shows the group isn’t just a one trick pony and the song is solid enough. If “Mic Check” and “Monster” were a bit too abrasive to you, then perhaps “Heartbeat” will be more to your liking.
That’s three singles in the space of five months, a blisteringly fast release schedule by anyone’s standards and all of the music has been great up until now. Surely things slowed down in the second half of the year, right? Wrong.
June saw the release of Q’ulle’s debut album, just six months after they made their debut. I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to recall the last time an idol group released so much music in such a short space of time. Anyway, of course the album is the ideal introduction to Q’ulle if you’re reading this little write-up and you want to check them out for yourself. Everything is on there; all of the singles, b-sides and I think maybe even a couple of new songs.
Perhaps surprisingly after all of that, Q’ulle then took several months off from releasing new singles. A much deserved break for both their song writers and the girls, writing and learning all of those songs in such a short space of time must have been difficult. That didn’t mean they were done for the year though.
To make up for not releasing anything for the better part of 5 months, Q’ulle rounded out 2015 by releasing a double a-side single titled “Unreal / Hope”. It marked a return to the style of music that they made their debut with just eleven months prior, and saw the group come full circle…which is such a strange thing to be saying about a group that’s only just celebrating their first anniversary.
Who knows what 2016 has in store for Q’ulle, but I have the feeling it probably won’t be as hectic as 2015 was. In any case, I’m strapped in for the ride and hope that some of you will join me after reading this and checking Q’ulle out for yourselves.