Impish Crow‘s catchy and exciting powerpop sound shines in Faith, mini-album that compiles some of the band’s best work since their debut in 2019.
Impish Crow is an indie rock band fronted by TSUGUMI (CV: Yuma Uchida) with guitarist TOKI (CV: Takuya Eguchi), bassist MITSURU (CV: Wataru Hatano) and drummer HIBARI (CV: Shinnosuke Tachibana).
Title: Faith Label: TEAM Entertainment Inc. Release date: 16/12/2020 Genre: Powerpop
1 - RISE 2 - Pump it!! 3 - Beyond the sky 4 - Be Ambitious!! 5 - FAITH 6 - RISE（Off Vocal） 7 - Pump it!!（Off Vocal） 8 - Beyond the sky（Off Vocal） 9 - Be Ambitious!!（Off Vocal） 10 - Faith（Off Vocal）
Track by track analysis:
1 – RISE
Impish Crow‘s debut release brings forth exciting guitar riffs, energetic splashy drums, and a groovy bass line.
RISE has a textbook 4-piece rock band sound but there is a charm about it that makes the band standout even among textbook rock bands.
The chorus is exciting and the vocals shine throughout the track, with Yuma Uchida really giving that last edge to the performance with his consistency and emotional take on the vocals.
As a whole, RISE is a solid debut track that highlights a band with a youthful rock sound in comparison with RUBIA Leopard.
Yuma Uchida is a great fit on the vocal end for this outfit, being able to make the music genre his with a performance that, undoubtedly, stands out.
2 – Pump it!!
Impish Crow bring the groove to Pump it!!. The song focus on a deep bass, groovy and even slightly danceable sound in which drums and slap bass are put on the spotlight.
At the same time, guitars bring fast, funky riffs into the mix, creating a summer-y soundscape for this track.
This is quite the change for Impish Crow that started with a clearly simpler and more textbook indie-rock sound, tackling this type of song that could be easily found among “mainstream” pop-rock bands.
As mentioned before, although Impish Crow are categorized as an indie-rock band by the project creators, the fact is that their sound is consistently sounding closer to powerpop than it is to the latter–which isn’t a bad thing because the instrumentals are still entertaining and the vocal performances consistent.
With so much groove going on in this track, it is expected of the vocals to match it and elevate the song.
From the very first note, it is noticeable how groovy Yuma Uchida‘s performance is. His vibrato plays an important role in adding another layer of playfulness to this song.
3 – Beyond the sky
Beyond the sky is a departure from the band’s powerpop sound. Melancholia is at the root of this track, influencing the melodies that drive this song forward.
That is most noticeable in the melancholic guitar intro that then evolves into a looping riff, the backdrop for all the slow paced, ballad-esque instrumentalization that paints this emotional soundscape.
The build up for the chorus is slow but pretty much done in a late 90s powerpop fashion.
The dynamics in the chorus open but not enough to change the tone of the song or even go all out in its ballad undertones. It is simple enough, putting the focus on the vocals.
On the vocal end, this is a completely different performance from Impish Crow. Until now, Impish Crow was all about their bass sound, shifting between exciting powerpop tunes to funk-rock.
Tackling a ballad was something expecting sometime down the line for this band, but not as soon. Still, it is a pleasant change of pace, add an additional dimension to the band’s sound and putting Uchida’s vocals to test.
Yuma Uchida goes dramatic for his performance, bringing a bit of rawness into his vocals, something that enhances the ballad undertones in this track.
4 – Be Ambitious!!
The energy in the intro alone is a great indicator that we’re in for an exciting rock tune about adventures and challenges. It is youthful, fun and exudes a feel good vibe that is impossible to shake off even after wrapping up listening to it.
The overdriven guitar riffs and the powerful snary drums pick up the pace in the verses, taking the excitement into the explosive chorus. The instrumental flows incredibly well, with this sort of take on their powerpop sound being rather refreshing.
There are hints of punk-rock in the guitar and drums work, particularly noticeable in the verses.
In the chorus, their powerpop shines as the song opens its dynamics and develops into an upbeat rock track with insanely catchy pop lyrics.
On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida delivers a rather unique performance, straying a bit away from his usual singing tone to deliver a rather fresh performance.
5 – FAITH
A big drums fill makes the honors for this fast paced, intense rock song. The bass line is fast and groovy, keeping up with the snary drums and emotional guitar riffs.
Faith isn’t shy about its exciting and fast paced melodic sound.
The verses are brief and intense with the chorus being a banger, exploding with emotion from all sources – vocals and instrumentals.
Although this isn’t the first time the band releases an exciting, uplifting song, this one feels fresh, with its fast pacing making all the emotions overflowing from it, more intense than usual.
Yuma Uchida makes the best out of all the experience he’s got fronting Impish Crow.
His performance is passionate and vigorous, he’s overflowing with charisma and his vocals shine – I particularly loved the stable mid-tones, smooth vibrato and that beautiful falsetto in the chorus. But overall, his performance was awesome in this track.
I feel energized after listening to “Faith” which is a really good thing.
Impish Crow are an exciting powerpop / punk-pop outfit in which flair is something they have by the truckloads and charisma, plus confidence takes them to a whole other level.
Their sound is alive, it is overflowing with energy, excitement. It is the kind of music to pump you up as if you’re being given a pep talk.
Nothing about their sound is alike RUBIA Leopard, and that makes Impish Crow music memorable, with heart and soul that belongs them.
Their identity as a band shows in their songs, blending pop lyrics with fast paced, punk-rock inspired melodies and melodic vocals. Their powerpop is refreshing not only within the franchise but also outside of it.
In Faith – the mini-album – fans will find 5 reasons to love this band.
The exciting, youthful powerpop, the emotional ballads, the groovy rock tunes, there’s no shortage of great music, all coated by the smooth and versatile vocals of Yuma Uchida.
If there were doubts that Uchida is a multidimensional singer – as opposed to 1 dimensional singers that can only perform 1 music genre well -, those were dispelled as he joined Impish Crow and has delivered, time after time, refreshing performances that made the band have their own vibe, their own identity.
“Rise” have those early DYNAMIC CHORD vibes that will make many fans of that project nostalgic.
However, the song goes further into their approach to this song and deliver a powerful, addictive rock tune with an inspiring vibe. This is, easily, one of the best songs in this mini-album.
But let’s not forget the groovy “Pump It!“, song that showcased a different side to this band. Funk rock and a bigger focus on smooth, melodic vocals come as refreshing within Impish Crow’s repertoire.
“Beyond the sky” is a mellow track with a comfortable pacing, however, in comparison with other songs on this release, it feels rather empty, so, it will be noticeable a big drop in energy in this mini-album when you go through that track.
If you’re in for a song that is an absolute banger, “Be Ambitious!!” is the thing for you. It is everything fans of pop-punk love, simple, exciting and a blast to listen to.
Wrapping up this release is the new song, “Faith“. Fancy in both its sound and performances on vocals, this is the highlight of this release. A song that seems like a summary of all the work Impish Crow has done so far. It is upbeat, it is fast, intense and incredibly fun to listen to.
All in all, Faith encompasses Impish Crow’s exciting, high octane powerpop / pop-punk sound and passionate vocals by Yuma Uchida.
This is the perfect introduction to this band as well as mini-album that is easy to listen even by those that do not fancy rock – but still want to listen to Yuma Uchida acing every single challenge that it’s thrown at him.
Pretty solid mini-album, one of the best in this year.
Faith is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.