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New Haruno: Filia

It’s startling how sweet the singing on Haruno’s first full-length album Filia can sound. Last year’s lovely Flower’s Laugh had similarly pretty vocals, but those came courtesy of a real human — this time around, Haruno uses Vocaloid technology for all ten songs here. Yet despite (or, maybe because of) a visible electric hum surrounding every syllable, the voice on Filia flows just right with the dreamy and often understated music around it, doing enough to blend in while also disrupting my own theory that synthesized singing works best in busy electro-pop. Filia is delicate but never brittle, opener “In Between” skipping off and offering one of the most upbeat moments here. Usually, Haruno constructs spacier songs, like the heartbeat-paced “Room” or piano-meets-vinyl-crackle daydream of “Deep Coma.” They are thoughtful, melancholy songs with a slight tension thanks to those digi voices. And Filia builds up to a dizzying climax, highlighted by the closing double punch of “Paradise In Lost” and “Shien.” Get it here, or listen below.