Review | Sir Vanity “Vanity / Haruka”

Sir Vanity

A new generation of rock bands kicks off with the passion and energy of Sir Vanity in the outstanding debut single, Vanity / Haruka.

Sir Vanity Yu
Title: Vanity / Haruka
Label: VANITY RECORDS
Release date: 26/06/2020
Genre: Rock

Tracklist:

1 - Vanity
2 - 悠

Track by track analysis:

1 – Vanity

Fancy piano melodies and shredding guitar riffs set an exciting tone for Vanity. Now, while listening to this track, it is impossible to not notice the solid arrangement and mixing for this track.

This song features 2 distinct guitar parts, which both being split between each of your ears (best listening to this song with headphones), at the same time, the drums are at center stage and, from the arrangement it even sounds like the listener is at the drums which is a pretty cool touch to this track.

The verses are robust, with the bass line reverberating in your ears while the drums pound in your throat. Tension and energy overflow as we approach the chorus, one that is as high tension as fancy you could get.

The pacing for this track and the infectious + explosive chorus completely won me over.

When it comes to a great rock track, we need to talk about the awesome guitar solo in the bridge. Not sure if it was Nakajima or Umehara to tackle that part but it was pretty cool. The fancy piano solo that followed added a tasteful touch to this catchy track.

On the vocal end, Yuichiro Umehara and Yoshiki Nakajima take turns, splitting each verse in several parts, with each of them working together in a seamless fashion. Their vocals work well together, with the duo going for mid-to-high tones for this track and absolutely nailing those.

Worth noting that the power and excitement in their performance is infectious.


2 – Haruka

Electronica and rock meet for Haruka. This is clearly a softer song in comparison with Vanity, song with Yuichiro Umehara as center.

Minimalistic, washy and glitchy synths set the music bed for this track, slowly giving way for a groovy bass line and snare-driven drums.

The verses are quiet for the most part, leaving more than enough space for the vocals to take over and lead the way.

The buildup for the chorus is pretty smooth, barely noticeable, with the chorus being rather straightforward and brief. The tension is rather subtle, almost as if this was a toned down anisong.

There’s something elegant and fancy about this song that clearly sets Haruka apart from Vanity.

A note that the bridge is ethereal, shining on both the vocal and instrumental sides. And that bass solo! Pure bliss with it, a pity it was so brief though.

For Haruka we get Yoshiki Nakajima as center and, as a result, this song was pretty mellow but not without bringing its rock edge into it with a pinch of elegance.

When listening to this track you’ll notice just how much in sync Nakajima and Umehara are. It is rather impressive at times, especially as they both tackle the chorus in completely different ways but the blend that comes of their voices is so pleasing. Their voice tones really complement themselves.


Final considerations

Well, safe to say that Sir Vanity are no ordinary rock band.

I keep feeling this and I am glad that part of the media in Japan think that as well, Sir Vanity are really starting a new generation of rock bands among male seiyuu.

If you notice, we only have 3-4 rock bands fronted by male seiyuu – away from the shackles of 2D projects – which are: GRANRODEO, OLDCODEX and SCREEN mode (you can count DKHi! in the indies as well).

And that’s that. All male seiyuu after that have never ventured towards creating a rock band (although some are rock or alternative rock artists), with most venturing towards a career in pop music as solo acts.

So, for rock and male seiyuu fans, there is a shortage of rock bands fronted by male seiyuu in which you don’t have to bother with knowing lore, story, characters, and more.

That’s a fact.

Sir Vanity sure seem like a textbook rock band with a solid backbone and a will to embrace more of the rock genre. Which, in return, means that these are pretty exciting times for us, rock music and male seiyuu fans.

But let’s skip that conversation to the big question that was addressed to me, via THTFHQ email upon the announcement of Sir Vanity’s debut.

What worried some people when Sir Vanity were announced was if Yuichiro Umehara was cut out for being in a rock band when his vocals are still developing and he, in the past, had never been interested in making a debut in the music industry.

If you guys have been following Umehara’s career in the music industry – mainly through SolidS and Beit – you’ll notice that he has come a long way since the days in which he was not so good at singing (lacking control over his range and delivering shaky performances) up until now, when he can hold his own pretty well when paired up with top, established singers in the seiyuu industry.

His control is there and his low and mid toned vocals have been pretty solid in the past 2 years. He has impressed with his recent consistency.

Yuichiro Umehara not only has been great in those projects as of late, but he was also a force to reckon with in this single. Being paired up with Yoshiki Nakajima, male seiyuu well known for playing his fair share of music instruments, being a vocal chameleon, fancy lyricist and music producer, has only pushed Umehara to deliver his best.

So, guys, no worries there.

Add to this the fact that Umehara loves rock music and actually had his own rock band in the past… and you get that he’s more than cut out for this.

And he absolutely rocks in this single. It is nice, for a change, for him to perform with such passion and excitement. It really shines a different light on him, which is really good.

Yoshiki Nakajima doesn’t need an introduction as he’s pretty much known as one of the most versatile singers among the 90s-born generation of male seiyuu and has shown, time and time again, that music is his element.

He’s a driving force in Vanity / Haruka, with a robust voice that fits any situation, balancing the duo in a way that, in the choruses, Sir Vanity sound as one. You can have him supporting a main singer or leading the way and you always get a high quality, consistent performance.

Now, Vanity / Haruka is pretty much a flawless debut single which is hard to come by. The excitement is certainly something that stands out when listening to this release. And, a side effect might be that, when you finish listening to it, you’ll find that a bit of your energy was drained.

Their fast paced, shredding sound that never misses a beat, the catchy choruses, fancy guitar riffs and smooth piano / synth work did wonders.

This is, undoubtedly a recommended listen.

First because, if you’re a rock fan, you can’t get anything as fresh as Sir Vanity’s songs. They don’t go for the big, generic anisong sound and they certainly avoided overlapping their sound with other rock bands which, in return, makes them pretty unique. On the vocal end, things couldn’t be more consistent and interesting. While they aren’t focusing on dazzling listeners with fancy performances, their sheer power and raw delivery really make this for an enjoyable rock release.

If you still have your doubts, give it a try. More than me explaining this in words, it’s best to experience this single (preferably with headphones as I mentioned before) and see if Sir Vanity click with you.

On my side, I can only say that this was a pleasant surprise and an exciting release. Thankfully, all that hype around them was completely deserved. They are awesome and they sound like a pretty good rock outfit.

If you’re looking for a new rock outfit to check out, Sir Vanity are a must.


A couple of side notes:

Sir Vanity consist of Yoshiki Nakajima (vocals and guitar), Yuichiro Umehara (vocals and guitar), Arte Refact’s Satoru Kuwabara (on bass) and taisei (VJ & Creative Director).

Sir Vanity announced their debut on April Fools. Check THIS article for this years’ April Fools pranks by male seiyuu.

The band opened their official youtube channel. They released a long introduction video to better get to know them and this project.

Additionally, they have kicked off their own radio so make sure to check their official youtube channel (link above) to listen to all the episodes released so far.

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).

3 COMMENTS

  1. To be honest, I was relieved when they finally released the songs because how they announced the project, as well as something about some of the supporting media gave the vague impression that Umehara and Nakajima were taking the piss. I’m still not 100% sure that they are taking this seriously, but the songs are good, so who cares.

    • As far as the music goes – including its production -, I bet they are serious about this project. There is a level of care in the production that erases my doubts (in comparison with, for example, UMake, Sir Vanity have more quality, production and mixing wise).
      They could have half-assed it if this was just for giggles but I bet this single would have sounded completely different.

      The debut announcement was certainly odd though – like they didn’t even care if people were or not interested in them -, I confess I had a hard time believing this was a real project when I first saw Umehara’s name on it.

      But like you said, their music is good so far, why dive too much into their intentions?

      Thanks for your comment, Ani!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Vanity
Haruka

SUMMARY

A new generation of rock bands kicks off with the excitement and energy of Sir Vanity. Fronted by Yuichiro Umehara and Yoshiki Nakajima, the duo tackes 2 awesome, high octane rock tracks that will make your heart pound with excitement (also drain your energy in the process). With consistent vocals, impressive chemistry and a sound so fresh - even among active rock bands fronted by male seiyuu -, Sir Vanity sure came to impress. Vanity / Haruka is a must listen.

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A new generation of rock bands kicks off with the excitement and energy of Sir Vanity. Fronted by Yuichiro Umehara and Yoshiki Nakajima, the duo tackes 2 awesome, high octane rock tracks that will make your heart pound with excitement (also drain your energy in the process). With consistent vocals, impressive chemistry and a sound so fresh - even among active rock bands fronted by male seiyuu -, Sir Vanity sure came to impress. Vanity / Haruka is a must listen.Review | Sir Vanity "Vanity / Haruka"