After months of waiting, it has finally been released. I have not been this excited for an album since the OCReMix album Of Balance and Ruin. No this is not the OCReMix Final Fantasy V-2 album (seriously guys where is that?) but instead it is the second album from one of my favourite cover bands. The World is Square has finally released its second album, Stay A While and Listen and it was defiantly worth the wait.
Stay a While and Listen is an album I have been waiting a long time and it completely blew my expectations away. While they are primarily a Square Enix cover band, it does appear that they are branching out by covering a track from the cult classic Grandia II for the Ps1 and Sega Saturn. Another positive about the album is that it covered tracks from Square Enix that you normally don't hear covered such as Shop Theme from Final Fantasy Tactics, Zozo's Theme from Final Fantasy VI and the aforementioned Grandia II.
Another positive mark for the album is that it is an acoustic album. Instead of using electric guitars the group opted to go unplugged for this album and I have to say it is incredibly enjoyable. As much as I enjoy the sounds of the aforementioned instruments, there are times I wish for something softer and more relaxing such as acoustic covers.
There are many great tracks on the album and as I have said before many of them are tracks that artists tend to overlook. One of the tracks that stand out to me (at the time of this writing) is the groups cover of Scars of Time. When I first heard this track, I was curious how the group could keep match the intensity of the original track. However instead of trying to match the original, they turned it into something unique. The World is Square's rendition of the song is far more subdued then the original. I do find it a bit weaker only because Scars of Time was Chrono Cross' intro theme and the accompanying movie, while starting off slow, showcased the intensity of the game. That is not to say the remix track is bad, it just underwhelms the original.
Another great track on the album would have to be the cover of Under the Apple Tree from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Many people lambaste the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and while I tend to ignore most of the media from the series I will defend Crisis Core as a great action RPG for the PSP. One of the great aspects about the game was the music which was far more subdued, in comparison with the original games medley of instruments. The World is Square's cover of Under the Apple Tree is a wonderful way to end Stay A While and Listen. The group captured the song's essence perfectly in this cover making it easily the best song on the album. This track is quite possibly my favourite on the album, which is hard to choose because the album has many great tracks on it.
If you are familiar with Crisis Core, you know what happens after this song plays. If you are not familiar then I would suggest playing the game. This is a bait and switch song and just when you think you are done with the game, it throws you one last boss fight.
If you are wondering if you should get the album, I would say yes. While they didn't offer anything truly ground breaking on this album, they did cover a few overlooked tracks from the vault of Square Enix. I do hope that the group continues this trend and add more unique tracks to their repertoire. I would love to hear the groups take on tracks from Dragon Quest, the Seinken Denetsu series or even a non S-E title such as the Lufia series Lunar or Breath of Fire. This group is incredibly talented and I would love to see more from them.
You can find Stay A While and Listen on their Bandcamp page.
This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.