SID “OUTSIDER” (review)


SID new look outsider(…) this time the band goes that extra mile to provide an album so solid that won’t make SID’s fans complain because of considerably big changes to their sound, and will also please other people not used to this side to SID’s sound.

SID are back with a new album following 2012’s release of “M&W“. The Japanese rock band is back in good shape showing everyone why, with 11 years of experience as a band on their belts, they are one of Japan’s best rock bands. Everything is in sync and the fact that the band is finally exploring unknown territory with this release, of course with only one or two experiences total, is a good sign not only for the already core fans that have followed the band’s career but also for the new blood. Could this be called a “mainstream” album? Probably not even if the album is pretty accessible in their sound overviewing it as a whole, but we still have SID’s usual trademark sound resorting to those ska/jazz melodies here and there and spreading bits of new elements as we progress in the album. It’s one of those albums that certainly will pique the interest to many people not because of the already known tracks like “V.I.P” or “ANNIVERSARY” but mainly because of the cast of new tracks that comes off as a pretty solid one.

More information regarding the album:

cover1

Album: Outsider
Release date: 12/03/2014
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
Genre: J-Rock

Tracklist:

1. laser
2. CANDY
3. V.I.P
4. 赤い手
5. MUSIC
6. サマラバ
7. 恋におちて
8. 迷路
9. darling
10. hug
11. ANNIVERSARY

Track by track analysis:

1 – laser

Old school synth leading the track towards a piano/synth driven track giving full spotlight for Mao to show his singing skills. A beautiful intro leading to a more full band sound by the second verse with the guitars, drums and bass making their way in this track. The guitar goes insane in the outro leading to that soothing intro provided by the synths. Vocal wise it’s a good track, nothing out of the ordinary but still it’s good to point out that Mao keeps hitting the high notes like it’s no problem whatsoever. Easily one of the strongest tracks in the album. 5/5

2 – CANDY

Getting back to the band’s original sound “CANDY” provides us with SID’s raging rock more bassline focused than the previous track. A track with soulful/jazzy guitar riffs and non-stopping drums. The bassline is also something to highlight because it completely sets the band’s pace and leads the way to all the instruments throughout the track. Mao’s peculiar “R” pronunciation is to praise on this one sounding a bit like how Ruki from the Gazette sounded in “Fadeless”. 4.5/5

3 – V.I.P

The already known “V.I.P” former opening theme for fantasy/adventure anime “Magi”. The arabic touch, influenced by the anime setting, on the instrumental piece fits so well be it on a studio or live setting.  A song full of energy and a certain classy touch to it delivered by the bass and the strings. A fast-paced song with Mao matching the drums speed sounding overall incredibly good. “V.I.P” is one of those tracks that once you listen to it, the track won’t get out of your mind. Addictive in its way, with good instrumentalization and overall good work with the arrangement. It was already a good single and in an album context it raises its quality even higher. 5/5 

4 – 赤い手 

Going towards a more classic/jazz approach “Akai te” (Red Hand) showcases a slow paced instrumental going towards the classy ballads befitting for a 007 movie soundtrack. Regarding the instrumentalization we have the strings making their appearance in this track and being put to good use throughout the whole track. The guitar work is superb with a mesmerizing solo in the outro, on the other side we have the never-changing, highly noticeable bassline provided by Aki. Mao once again shows us that he simply owns each and every song he’s asked to sing, delivering a strong, soulful performance. 4.5/5 

5 – MUSIC

Changing the pace completely comes “MUSIC“. Heavily focused on the slap-bass together with the unstoppable guitar riffs provided by Shinji set the track’s pace to an incredibly fast one. In the outro instead of a guitar or bass solo we are provided with a slow jazz interlude fully focusing on spotlighting Mao’s vocals that simply don’t fail to deliver both highs and low with an incredibly high quality. A fun and entertaining track really befitting SID’s repertoire. 4/5

6 – サマラバ 

サマラバ or simply Summer lover it’s your typical summer track. It’s a track that gives that feel good vibe along with a sense of a good summer night on the beach or something along those lines. It’s the atmosphere that the instrumentalization gives to the listener through the incredibly noticeable bassline, the rambling guitar and the trumpets. A touch of jazz in rock well done gives, almost every time, a great track and this one is no exception. 4/5

7 – 恋におちて 

“Koi ni ochite” is jazz-focused track resorting to melodic guitar playing, precise bass playing and slow paced drums. A track that completely breaks the pace dictated by the previous track but comes as a good change of pace, showing their classy, jazzy side that has been the band’s trademark for years. Overall a solid track with good instrumentalization and vocal work. 4/5

8 – 迷路

A slow, almost fully acoustic resorting to acoustic guitars, a more laid-back bass and drum playing together with those vocals we’re so used to. Mao delivers each and every verse in the sweetest, softest way possible way, adding to this track that extra bit that was missing for this laid-back song come to full circle. An interesting addition to the album but nothing really “eye catchy” on it. 3/5

9 – darling

One of the strongest tracks in the album is this one by far. “darling” resorts to heavy guitar riffs, synths, a highly addictive bassline and catchy lyrics. A track that goes in a direction that SID hasn’t explored much in their career. An interesting turn of events in the album and an excellent addition to an already considerably solid release. “darling” is addictive from start to finish. And to even surprise more people SID didn’t resort to a fully electric guitar solo instead choosing to go with an acoustic guitar solo making the overall sound in this track incredibly rich. A highlight without a doubt. 5/5

10 – hug 

Starting off the song with the acoustic guitar played in a melodic way together with a noticeable bassline and the mid-tempo drums we have the perfect guides to this mellow / more laid back song on SID’s repertoire. Mao’s vocals are sounding great as well as the rest of the instrumentalization provided by the electric and acoustic guitars (Shinji), drums (Yuya) and bass (Aki). “hug” seems like it was created just for Valentine’s day. It’s slow paced, melodic, emotional and romantic, a song that is not SID’s typical release. It’s a song made to be savored slowly. Without any aggressiveness the guitar solo by the end of the song is so full of emotion, moving  and immersing you even more on the song. 5/5 

11 – ANNIVERSARY 

Anniversary” is your typical SID upbeat song. Strong, mesmerizing bassline, good guitar riffs and addictive drums with the perfect finish done by Mao’s vocals. This formula has proved to work time after time without sounding annoying or anything in between and that is the formula that still attracts a lot of fans around the world. The guitar solos are always a delight to listen to along with the overall instrumental piece that has so much energy. A good song to celebrate the band’s 10th anniversary. 4/5 

Final rating: 4.5/5

“OUTSIDER” is another good release in the band’s registry. “OUTSIDER” is a solid release, with a good amount of tracks played close to perfection, of course, with both highs and lows, exploring new possibilities to their sound, trying to innovate adding new elements to their already rich sound and, in the end, coming out with a rock solid release on par with 2012’s “M&W“. An album with two big highlights in the new tracks, “Laser” and “darling” come off as the most experimental and addictive tracks in this release mostly because of how rare is to listen the band resorting to a more synth-driven sound giving us a taste of how versatile of a band SID really are. In the end we get an album that surely won’t be forgotten since it really didn’t have something deplorable or really week in it, of course, like most releases it has its weak tracks but there’s nothing really worth point out in that department. As a whole this release is something that certainly will make a lot of SID’s fans rejoice and will also gather some new faces at a first listen. It’s not your usual SID, fully resorting to the more jazzy tracks, not leaving a lot of space for non jazz lovers to enter; this time the band goes that extra mile to provide an album so solid that won’t make SID’s fans complain because of considerably big changes to their sound, and will also please other people not used to this side to SID’s sound.

“OUTSIDER” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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