Review | UMake “Merry.”

“Merry.” includes a bundle of sweet holiday themed songs meant to put a smile on your face.

Regular
Title: Merry.
Release date: 23/12/2020
Label: Art Sonic
Genre: Pop-Rock / Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - Merry.
2 - 六畳一間のエンターテイナー
3 - sweet sweet sweets
4 - Gift
5 - Merry. (Instrumental)
6 - 六畳一間のエンターテイナー(Instrumental)
7 - sweet sweet sweets (Instrumental)
8 - Gift Instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1 – Merry.

Festive bells make a big entrance to “Merry.”, giving way to the fun, fast paced pop-rock sound in the verses.

Fast-paced guitar riffs, delicate strings, an upbeat piano melody, and a punchy bass line are joined by melodic guitar riffs and simple, snare-driven drums in the verses, creating a carefree and sweet soundscape for you to enjoy.

The energy and pacing keep up into the chorus, flourishing into a catchy tune that you won’t get tired of.

On the vocal end, Ito and Nakajima deliver an entertaining performance with a lot of power on top. Their harmonies stand out in this song and, in their individual parts, each member delivers his lines with their unique flair.

The highlight medley is out.

2 – 六畳一間のエンターテイナー

A sweet acoustic guitar lullabies the listener through the verses. The verses slowly get new elements into the mix despite starting off in a stripped-down fashion.

Simple, hi-hat-driven drums, acoustic guitars, minimalistic synths and a memorable bass line create a gentle soundscape to enjoy. The 2nd verse introduces pizzicato strings hits, something that further enriches the quality of the instrumental.

The guitar work on this song reminds me a little of 00s indie rock bands, something very reminiscing of Interpol, band that I love to bits. Of course, the rest of the song in nothing is similar to what the band in question is known for, this is UMake’s gentle brand of pop-rock in effect.

Ito and Nakajima went for a sweet performance for this song, taking the listener by hand to explore the beauty in the simplest details in it.

3 – sweet sweet sweets (Re Arrange)

UMake go the jazz route for the re-arrangement of “sweet sweet sweets”.

The revamped instrumental is quieter and more emotional than the original track, taking the listener into a dimly lit jazz bar where irregular drums patterns and deep bass lines are king while piano melodies are the spice that keeps the listener on the edge.

Bluesy guitars give another coating of elegance to this song, being on the spotlight from start to finish. The verses are stripped down and the chorus is pure refinement in display.

When it comes to the vocals, Ito and Nakajima made sure to deliver a performance you won’t forget any soon.

4 – Gift (Re Arrange)

Wrapping up this release is “Gift”, yet another re-arrangement of a 2018 song.

60s surfer rock takes the spotlight for this track, with playful drums, brass, laidback guitar riffs and a deep bass line creating a danceable and incredibly addictive sound that you won’t get enough of.

What stands out the most for me in this re-arrangement is the way Kento Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima are performing. You can tell from their performance, with all those flourishes, some of those in falsetto, that they were enjoy themselves while performing this song.

It then translates into a performance that will instantly put a smile on your face, it rubs off on the listener in a positive way.

Top marks.


Final considerations

UMake’s festive-themed single “Merry.” brings good vibes and a whole lot of fun to the spotlight.

It is rare for a single or an album to carry a theme/vibe as well as this one does. The songs flow into each other, as if they were all linked, creating a seamless experience for the listener.

Out of the new songs, I am particularly fond of the title track, “Merry.”.

This isn’t your typical Christmas or Holiday themed song. Yes, it is sweet. Yes, it alludes to the season. But there’s something completely different underneath it that makes the song all the more enjoyable to me.

Its fast pace is infectious, its carefree vibe stands out and those vocals… Yeah, that’s exactly what I enjoy finding in a holiday themed song.

六畳一間のエンターテイナー (Rokujo hitoma no Entertainer) brought the lullaby vibes into the mix yet with some guitar work that is far more complex than what you’d expect of one. Fans of gentle, slow paced songs will love this one.

UMake continue to re-arrange their debut songs. This time around, fans get to listen to reworked versions of “sweet sweet sweets” and “Gift”, songs featured on the duo’s first full-length album “Make up a Dream”.

The two re-arrangements brought new things to the table. “sweet sweet sweets” embraced the elegance of jazz music and ended up taking the spot as the best song in this single.

Gift” got a surfer rock style revamp and it works pretty well with it, ditching the whole traditional Christmas song sound it had going on in the original.

Those improvements were also noticeable on the vocal end, with Kento Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima delivering a completely different set of performances for both. Clarity and confidence were noticeable on these new takes as well as some charisma, particularly noticeable in their fun take on “Gift”.

In the end, “Merry.includes a bundle of holiday themed songs meant to warm you up and put a smile on your face. Sweet vocals and a lot of quality in the instrumentals make this their best single released to date.


Merry. is available for purchased at CDJAPAN.

Merry. / UMake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
UMake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
Merry. / UMake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
UMake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)

Merry. is available for streaming on Spotify.

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

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Merry.
六畳一間のエンターテイナー
sweet sweet sweets (Re Arrange)
Gift (Re Arrange)
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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