Anyone familiar with Pokémon Reorchestrated should also be familiar with the consistently high quality work produced by the project, from its early days arranging single tracks on YouTube, through its Kanto Symphony album, and everything done up through now. The most recently released album by Pokémon Reorchestrated is Double Team!, which arranges twelve songs spanning all six generations of Pokémon games for a live string ensemble. If the idea alone makes you giddy enough to pick up a copy, head on over to Loudr or iTunes, but if you need a little more convincing that Double Team! Is well worth your cash, keep reading after the jump!
The album begins with Pallet Town from Pokémon Red and Blue, which opens the album to a great start with a gentle piano solo. It slowly transitions into a calm rendition of the town’s main melody, growing grander and more adventurous as the bass builds, before settling back down into a sweet tune and preparing for the adventure to come.
The rest of the album features—you guessed it: string arrangements—of some of the best themes from throughout the Pokémon series, and that's no hyperbole. Some of these arrangements are more conservative to their original compositions than others, and the tracks chosen include battle themes, waltzes, and more, all of which contribute to the album’s nice diversity in music. But the icing on the cake is the pure joy of hearing real, live-recorded instruments play these wonderful themes. Because the fourteen musicians playing were layered three times over after the recording session, the album further aggrandizes these gorgeous arrangements and absorbs listeners deeply in the music.
My personal favorite tracks in the album are “Golden Horizons,” which is an arrangement of Gold, Silver, and Crystal Versions’ ending credits theme, “Reflections,” an arrangement of Black and White’s “Unwavering Emotions,” and “N Suite,” which is a collection of various themes played surrounding N in Black and White.
“Golden Horizons” has a certain simplistic beauty about it and the way it builds slowly from a gentle melody with a quiet bass to a grand, triumphant declaration of power in its final few notes. And that the original track is one of my favorite songs of all time certainly helps me appreciate the arrangement even more. Unfortunately, this song that would have made such a great conclusion to the album comes in the middle of the tracklist, leaving the end of the album to remain a bit anticlimactic. “Reflections” and “N Suite,” on the other hand, achieve their greatness by taking several emotional turns and truly letting the music speak for itself as the sweeping strings gracefully swell and melt away, leaving high piano notes to carry much of the tune in their more melancholic moments.
The following is a preview of Double Team! featuring Ecruteak City and "N Suite."
The Verdict: It’s a Critical Hit!
Listening to Double Team!, you’ll feel joy. You’ll feel heartache. You’ll feel adventure. But most importantly, you will never feel unsatisfied. With its powerfully emotional arrangements and rich, full sound, Double Team! is a must-have for Pokémaniacs and musicians alike.