Review | SHIFTYz “Connections”


SHIFTYz changes dynamics on vocals and, in return, listeners get “Connections”, the band’s best CD released to date.

Brief introduction

ENLIGHTRIBE is a full-scale rock x character project by movic (Tsukipro, Tsukiuta, VAZZROCK, etc.).

ENLIGHTRIBE counts with 3 bands in its lineup: FAM, SHIFTYZ, and ESMERALDA.

For more details on this project, make sure to check this guide.


Title: ENLIGHTRIBE side.SHIFTYz -Connections-
Release date: 22/10/2021
Label: Movic
Genre: Rock / Funk-rock


1 - Matching Stage
2 - サヨナラシークレット 
3 - drama track side.SHIFTYz #2
4 - drama track side.SHIFTYz #3
5 - Matching Stage -Instrumental-
6 - サヨナラシークレット -Instrumental-

Track by track analysis:

1 – Matching stage

SHIFTYz kicks off this single with the hopeful “Matching stage”. Guitar riffs are distant, the piano melodies are dreamy but soon, the song changes dynamics, adding mid-tempo bassy drums and strings into the mix.

The chorus is exciting, having a call and response format that will have you singing along to it. Also, the bassline is massive in this part, punching its way through the powerful instrumental.

On the vocal end, we find Shunichi Toki and Atsushi Tamaru sharing vocal duties and it does work pretty well for them as both have a soothing tonality, coming across as really gentle even when powering through a song.

Good dynamic in the instrumental and equally good chemistry on vocals make “Matching stage” stand out.

2 – サヨナラシークレット

Wrapping up this single is “Sayonara Secret”. The song brings to the forefront dreamy synths, funky guitar riffs, and fancy drums. If you thought the band couldn’t get groovier, then, this will be a massive surprise.

The verses bring jazzy drums, breaking the pace, making this song incredibly unpredictable. However, what really stands out in this song is by far its chorus. It carries over from where the intro left off, fully embracing that groovy, punchy bassline-driven sound that channels citypop vibes.

The addition of a rhodes piano, complementing the piano itself, in the verses is a nice touch that further explores citypop’s trademark soundscapes.

Shunichi Toki and Atsushi Tamaru deliver a rock-solid performance, that mixes Toki’s clarity with Tamaru’s slight raspiness.

When this song wraps up, you’ll be hitting that replay button again.

Final considerations

SHIFTYz goes all out for an impressive single. The band, counting primarily with vocals by Shunichi Toki welcomed this time around Atsushi Tamaru.

If you’ve been following the ENLIGHTRIBE franchise, you may have noticed that the 2nd batch of CDs is focused on welcoming all members to perform alongside the vocalists.

Well, that has had mixed results, with some bands exaggerating that formula, ending up sounding bad and others toning a bit down and managing to achieve a weird balance.

With only two members, this change to include all members on the vocal end doesn’t actually sound bad. Shunichi Toki and Atsushi Tamaru have a 60 – 40 split of the lines which is pretty neat, allowing both to sing however with the spotlight still on the vocalist, in this case, Shunichi Toki.

Their chemistry was good, and their voice tones work surprisingly well together.

What I am most surprised with though, is how different does Atsushi Tamaru sound. I remember him not being that confident in his singing, sounding a bit weak but now… he was rocking the stage, he was showing a lot of confidence in his performance. It was refreshing to hear that.

As far as favorite songs go, I’m partial to “Sayonara Street”, a song that cranked up everything good about citypop and delivered a memorable performance.

Matching Stage” is also an entertaining rock song but the bassline in “Sayonara Street” steals the show for me.

All in all, SHIFTYz vastly improved their sound in “Connections”. Part of that was due to a polish given to their sound the rest was due to the new dynamic on the vocal end, now performing with two consistent singers.

ENLIGHTRIBE side.SHIFTYz -Connections- is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

ENLIGHTRIBE side.SHIFTYz -Connections- is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support SHIFTYz by streaming via official outlets.


SHIFTYz vastly improved their sound in “Connections”. Part of that was due to a polish given to their sound the rest was due to the new dynamic on the vocal end, now performing with two consistent singers. Be ready for some funky rock coming from this duo, sounding more elegant and mature than ever and the dynamic between Shunichi Toki and Atsushi Tamaru on vocals is quite interesting. Both perform comfortably, seamlessly sharing vocal duties throughout, leading to 2 incredibly interesting performances. "Connections" is SHIFTYz's best CD to date.


Matching Stage
Vanessa Silva
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).





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