Review | Impish Crow “TRICK”

Impish crow

Impish Crow showcases its quality with a fun and energetic pop-punk and Yuma Uchida’s powerful vocals in the mini-album “TRICK”.

What is DIG-ROCK?

DIG-ROCK is a 2D rock music franchise created by TEAM Entertainment in 2019. The franchise branches out from the drama CD series, MintLip. This is a mixed media project that incorporates music with drama CDs.

DIG-ROCK features 3 rock bands of different backgrounds and sound: RUBIA Leopard (Makoto Furukawa on vocals), Impish Crow (Yuma Uchida on vocals), and HOUND ROAR (Toshiyuki Toyonaga on vocals).

Review

Title: TRICK
Label: TEAM Entertainment Inc. 
Release date: 30/03/2022 
Genre: Rock/Powerpop/Punk-rock/Funk

Tracklist:

1 - GROW
2 - Ride the Wind
3 - Sky is the limit
4 - Updraft
5 - RAM
6 - TRICK [NEW SONG]
7 - GROW (off vocal)
8 - Ride the Wind (off vocal)
9 - Sky is the limit (off vocal)
10 - Updraft (off vocal)
11 - RAM (off vocal)
12 - TRICK

Track by track analysis:

1 – GROW

[As previously reviewed] Impish Crow brought their best to the table for their 1st entry in the DUEL FES series. After going for a unique performance in their previous single, Be Ambitious!!, the band went for yet another unique performance, showcasing their take on punk and rock sound to date.

GROW brings memorable bass line work alongside pretty dark guitar riffs and splashy drums. The verses are tight, with the groovy instrumental setting a pretty cool tone for this track, however, not creating any breathing space for the listener, all while Yuma Uchida goes for a fancy performance.

What stands out the most in this track is, undoubtedly, the instrumental. I couldn’t help but attribute this sound to RUBIA Leopard and, if there was no singing whatsoever, I’d fall on that in an instant.

With that being said, Impish Crow put their powerpop sound on the side and, much like the title suggests, matured their rock sound, exploring darker sonorities and delivering dirtier vocal performances, which ended up fitting pretty well with the band.

On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida brings a lot of vibrato – more so than usual – into his performance, something that is also a novelty, especially if you take into account how his performance in Be Ambitious!! was more focused on unleashing energy and sounding youthful.

This contrast was surprising yet, once again, fitting for the song that we have in our hands right here.

All in all, this new take on Impish Crow sound shows that the band has everything it takes to shift between rock subgenres and, at the same time, deliver natural performances that still have their “essence” at the core.

Solid performance by Uchida that really went the extra mile to deliver a gritty performance that added the finishing touches to this cool rock track.

2 – Ride the Wind

[As previously reviewed] A funky bassline and simple, overdriven guitar riffs paint a summery soundscape for Ride the Wind. The verses ride on top of a lot of groove, with the bass leading the way for this track.

The song naturally flows into the chorus, doing so with a flair and poise that it is impossible to be mesmerized by it.

The instrumental is funky and danceable this time around, something that, with the band’s pop lyrics and Yuma Uchida’s smooth vocals, works pretty well.

On the vocal end, it’s worth reminding that Yuma Uchida is on his groove for this track, singing in a comfortable range, tackling the verses in a legato-ed fashion.

Add to it his smooth vibrato – that can be found spread throughout the song –, his melodic mid-tones, and the powerful, energetic way he tackles the chorus and you get Impish Crow’s best song to date.

3 – Sky is the limit

[As previously reviewed] Intense guitar licks and thunderous bass line lead the way to Sky is the limit.

Even by Impish Crow standards, this is a pretty simple song.

The band dons their classic 4-piece rock band sound in style with the bass being the prominent element to this song, the driving core. I am particularly fond of the tone of the bass in this song.

Around the massive bass line, we find a blend of introspective guitar licks and edgy, shredding guitar riffs, the same as in the quiet, tight intro, but this time around going a bit wider, as the instrumental slowly introduces new elements into the mix.

Such new elements include pounding drums, the ones responsible for giving life to the exciting, hyped-up chorus.

Although there are plenty of awesome moments on the instrumental, I must say that my attention was almost all dedicated to the bass line.

It’s not only in the verses that it’s groovy, in the chorus it goes pretty wild and all you can hear is a really good mix with the bass on top being the backdrop to Yuma Uchida’s charismatic performance.

Yuma Uchida goes for a more comfortable performance this time around, relying a lot on his mid-tones for power and consistency and going a bit higher in his register to add excitement and variety to his performance.

Although incredibly simple as a song, Sky is the Limit has a unique flair and energy that make it impossible not to enjoy it again and again.

4 – Updraft

[As previously reviewed] Impish Crow fires all cylinders for “Updraft”, cranking up the intensity of the sound with an explosive bass line, intense guitar riffs, and bass-centric drums.

Right off the bat, what impressed me was the intro and how atmospheric it was, making good use of pedals on the guitars to add some reverb into them, creating a distant vibe to this song.

The verses are tight, with the instrumental following the unstoppable bass line, leading to a lower-toned, darker sound to this song.

The chorus, however, changes things a little bit, changing dynamics into a breathy, spacious soundstage in which the bass goes crazy, the drums are used to their fullest and the guitars pack quite the punch.

There are some synths + guitar riffs in the background that caught my attention. Nice accents to a song that, otherwise, would be too dark for Impish Crow.

Also, those splash hits on the drums were a nice touch to the chorus.

On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida delivers a performance that makes decent use of his range and skillset. He’s performing the song mostly in a comfortable mid-tone but he brought to the table his falsetto and high notes, at least for the backing/pitch vocals.

This is a song that doesn’t sound like anything the band has released before. There’s a certain maturity in how the sound is presented, ditching the punk-rock influences and going darker, that hints at the band’s growth.

Easily one of the most enjoyable rock tunes Impish Crow has released, that’s for sure.

5 – RAM

[As previously reviewed] Impish Crow kicks off this song with intense guitar riffs paired with a deep bassline. The pacing is slow in the verses, picking up in the chorus but it never gets too extravagant in that department.

This approach to their sound, putting the guitars at center stage while focusing on having an intense punk-rock/pop-punk sound, is a nice twist to their powerpop formula and, once again, shows maturity from the band (something that is going on since “Updraft“).

The pre-chorus ventures towards that territory and the chorus is pure pop-up fun, counting with a comfortable pounding beat and a punchy bassline on top of it all.

The guitar work for this song is really strong, yet simple. I find it to be easily one of the highlights of this track, however, what stroke me as interesting was Yuma Uchida’s performance.

Perhaps you’re familiar with his singing skills and style outside of this project but it’s still worth mentioning that Impish Crow has been changing its sound with each release, going for darker, more intense rock performances, and Uchida adapts with a lot of ease to those changes, which, while expected, is still impressive.

Uchida tackled this refreshing brand of pop-punk – less energetic than the band’s usual sound – and completely ace his performance.

6 – TRICK

Wrapping up this mini-album is “TRICK”, Impish Crow’s new song. 

Listeners are presented with riveting bass-driven drums leading the way before the song brings in shredding guitar riffs and the drums welcome splashy hits.

However, that intermission between the intro and verse is not what you’ll be getting with this song. It’s a glimpse but not really the full experience.

The verses are quiet for the most part and are a paradise for fans of bass. The bassline is punchy, complementing the open hi-hat and snare combo on the drums. Slowly, guitars make their way, bringing a bit of nostalgia with them due to the reverb that was added to them.

The chorus is an explosion of energy following the comfortable mid-tempo 4/4 drum beat as guitars and bassline scream in the background, creating a dirty and rugged sound in which Yuma Uchida’s vocals – clean, and overflowing with energy and confidence – shine.

“TRICK” has a lot of emotion at its core, something that will easily grab your attention. To top it all off, it’s a song with a genuinely addictive composition, with the steady rhythm making you tap or nod along to it for the whole track.


Final considerations:

Impish Crow’s “TRICK” is a perfect introduction to the band and its easy-listening take on punk-rock music, adding a dash of pop and funk in the mix.

This is a band that has a fun and energetic sound that will make you sing along or, if you actually play any instrument, want to jam along. 

Their sound is simple but their speed and pop edge to the lyrics make it so that they always offer an awesome experience for the listener, counting with their fair share of addictive tunes.

“Updraft” continues to impress with its sound and usage of guitar effects, being the most atmospheric/cinematic song on this CD.

“GROW” is an awesome take on the sound that fans of the DIG-ROCK franchise would easily attribute to RUBIA Leopard, sounding more mature and aggressive than you’d expect for Impish Crow. Beware the crazy guitar solo in this song, it really is something bloody awesome.

If you want to listen to Yuma Uchida’s range in rock music, this is a great song to check.

“Ride the Wind” brought the funk to this release, showing that Impish Crow is more than a pop-punk band, having some versatility to both their sound as well as on the vocals. Yuma Uchida’s natural vibrato and experience performing R&B make it so that this performance naturally shines within this CD.

“Sky is the limit” is all about its groovy rock sound and it is still as addictive and energetic as ever.

“RAM” is an awesome song however what impresses the most is Yuma Uchida’s versatility and range, pulling off a performance that will leave your mouth ajar.

And the new track “TRICK” is addictive as hell. Its rock sound is all about bringing to the spotlight bass – through basslines and drums – with Yuma Uchida getting a clean stage in which to deliver an energetic performance that will have you singing along.

All in all, Impish Crow’s “TRICK” is a fantastic reminder of the quality this band – and DIG-ROCK – has. A clean, fun, and different pop-punk sound led by one of the best vocals among male seiyuu, the great Yuma Uchida.


Impish Crow‘s “TRICK” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

For media, PR, and business enquiries, please email me at: info@handthatfeedshq.com

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

GROW
Ride the Wind
Sky is the limit
Updraft
RAM
TRICK

SUMMARY

Impish Crow delivers a fantastic display of its quality as a band in “TRICK”. This mini-album arrives as a perfect introduction to those wanting to get into DIG-ROCK as well as it is a rocking treat to fans of the band. Revisiting the band’s addictive and energetic pop-punk/powerpop sound, especially its most recent releases, is something that made me wish the band was more active. Their sheer quality - with fun rock instrumentals, addictive lyrics, and Yuma Uchida’s charismatic performances - shows in every single song on this CD. While most 2D rock bands seem to have the same sound, Impish Crow - just like RUBIA Leopard and HOUND ROAR - has a distinct sound that makes it really easy to spot them. From previously released songs to the newly released “TRICK”, this mini-album is a display of what a good 2D rock band can sound like when you have a care for the music to be unique and the vocal happens to be insanely versatile. If you’ve yet to listen to this CD or want to get into the DIG-ROCK franchise, this is a perfect entry point that will get you up to speed on some of the music released in the past two years for Impish Crow.

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Impish Crow delivers a fantastic display of its quality as a band in “TRICK”. This mini-album arrives as a perfect introduction to those wanting to get into DIG-ROCK as well as it is a rocking treat to fans of the band. Revisiting the band’s addictive and energetic pop-punk/powerpop sound, especially its most recent releases, is something that made me wish the band was more active. Their sheer quality - with fun rock instrumentals, addictive lyrics, and Yuma Uchida’s charismatic performances - shows in every single song on this CD. While most 2D rock bands seem to have the same sound, Impish Crow - just like RUBIA Leopard and HOUND ROAR - has a distinct sound that makes it really easy to spot them. From previously released songs to the newly released “TRICK”, this mini-album is a display of what a good 2D rock band can sound like when you have a care for the music to be unique and the vocal happens to be insanely versatile. If you’ve yet to listen to this CD or want to get into the DIG-ROCK franchise, this is a perfect entry point that will get you up to speed on some of the music released in the past two years for Impish Crow. Review | Impish Crow "TRICK"