Review | UMake “Air”

UMake

Air” is an unbalanced single that, at its core, still explores completely different sides to UMake both vocally and instrumentally.

Title: Air
Release date: 20/04/2021
Label: Art Sonic
Genre: Rock / Acoustic

Tracklist:

1 - Air
2 - うたう

Track by track analysis:

1 – Air

Overdriven guitar riffs serve as the greeting card to “Air”. The verses have comfortable pacing, bringing to the table a melodic bassline, simple hi-hat-driven drums, and bright piano melodies.

The verses build up in a rather soft yet fast fashion, transitioning in an almost seamless fashion to the upbeat chorus.

In the bridge, UMake go for a unique two-part guitar solo that is more about technicality and slow pace than shredding and high tension.

As far as vocals go, Nakajima and Ito delivered a solid performance with quite a bit of energy on top.

Simple and to the point.

2 – うたう

Wrapping up this single is “UTAU”, a stripped-down acoustic song with a cozy vibe and a touch of melancholy on top.

If you pay attention to the background, you can listen to cars come and go, wheels against the wet tarmac as the rain slowly falls. I love the simplistic setting for this song. Small details helped to create a cinematic soundscape that you’ll want to experience.

Yoshiki Nakajima and Kento Ito only have the acoustic guitars in the background, leaving plenty of spotlight available for their slow, lullabyish performances.

Top marks.


Final considerations

UMake’s special digital single “Air” is quite the interesting entry in their repertoire.

You have a taste of their rock sound in the title track, although I was wishing for dynamics to change in a significant way, so that it’d feel more “alive”.

As it is, “Air” is a mildly entertaining song with an almost nonexistent replay value. Why is that?

There’s not a big difference in tension and melodies between verses and chorus, creating an impression of the song being static or monotone. At the same time, contrary to what UMake has used their fans to, this time around the vocals offered little variety and were, at their core, as simplistic as you could get.

Air” has that indie, impromptu vibe to it though so, while all I’ve said in the previous paragraph can be understood as “less positive” points, if you love indie rock and don’t demand songs with big dynamics, those will all be positives to take from the song.

The b-side track is “UTAU” and this is where things got really interesting.

First off, the song flies by in an instant – it is under 3 minutes – then, it is stripped down to the bone. You only have Yoshiki Nakajima and Kento Ito on their acoustic guitars and their voices.

This is as close as you get to an acappella from them and this simplicity, this rawness in their performance suits them very well. You get to experience their voices without distractions and what a treat it is!

The whole background cinematics setting the stage for this acoustic tune stands out as well. It helps with the storytelling in the performance and it doesn’t clutter the background.

All in all, UMake’s “Air” counts with interesting songs that explore completely different sides to the duo both vocally and instrumentally.


“AIR” is available for streaming on Spotify!

Do not support piracy. Remember to support UMake by streaming via official outlets.
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Air
うたう
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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