UMake “HOME” (Review)

The multi-talented duo is back with a new single. HOME is overflowing with nostalgia and easy-listening pop-rock tunes.

Title: HOME 
Label: Art Sonic
Release date: 06/03/2019 
Genre: Pop/Rock/Electro-pop


01 - HOME
02 - ショートヘアドリーマー
03 - 初めてリップを塗った朝
04 - HOME(off vocal)
05 - ショートヘアドリーマー(off vocal)
06 - 初めてリップを塗った朝(off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – HOME

A catchy, distant guitar riff opens this sweet sounding pop-rock tune. HOME brings a fully electric sound however it sounds cosy and laidback as if we were listening to an acoustic song. Pizzicato strings, a noticeable bass line and simple, splashy drums complete the instrumental for this song.

On the vocal end UMake continue to showcase their skills and the members’ individual vocal prowess. Kento Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima laid it all out in this performance. Their sweet mid-tones, those flourishes of vibrato and falsetto in some sections, the emotion they put on their performance stands out, making this song all the more memorable. 5/5

2 – ショートヘアドリーマー

The pacing quickens and the sound shifts from pop-rock to electro-rock with ショートヘアドリーマー(Short hair dreamer). This song bets heavily on its bass sound, be it from the reverberating slap bass line, bassy synths or the bass-drum driven drums. Adding to this deep sound are fast paced synths and electric guitar riffs. This instrumental will certainly delight fans of vocaloid music. There are hints in the style of this song – from music to vocal performance – that certainly hint that way.

Vocal manipulation completely takes over UMake‘s performance. For some people that, like us, do not fancy, excessive usage of auto-tune, pitch correction or vocoder in performances, this song will certainly not be easy to find enjoyable. But if it does not bother you in the least, this is fits the bill of an entertaining song in which technicality is not the main concern. 4/5

3 – 初めてリップを塗った朝

This single wraps up with Hajimete lip o nutta asa. The last song brings back the group’s exciting pop-rock sound. Exciting guitar riffs drive this song forth, creating a playful soundscape in which delicate hits of piano, a surfer-rock inspired beat and a deep bass line have their fun. This is an easy listening song with a youthful sound and lyrics that are incredibly catchy.

This time around, on the vocal end there is no vocal manipulation. This is a raw performance, adding a crafty touch to the song’s youthful sound. A good song to wrap up this release with. 4.5/5

Final rating:

All the songs in UMake‘s HOME certainly have some nostalgia or at least a unique cosiness that is consistent with its main theme.

UMake are one of the most talented seiyuu duos mainly for the fact that they compose and write everything they perform and they do it so with a whole lot of sense and quality-oriented mindset. This single, just like previous releases of theirs, has a “homemade” feel instead of a fully professional, studio perfect sound that we often find in almost all music performed by seiyuu. The vocaloid-esque ショートヘアドリーマー (Short hair dreamer) as a whole or the drum parts in HOME are perfect examples of what is far from being a “perfect” but yet enjoyable sound.

That lack of perfection is endearing because it showcases how close to the composers and lyricists – Ito and Nakajima – this release really is.

HOME is the highlight of this release, a good example of how a title track should work: having catchy, easy-listening melodies, showcase the best of the members’ singing skills, irradiate good vibes – in this case, warm, welcoming vibes -, and simply being the best song on the release.

The other songs have their charms but none really stood out as much as the title track did. Still, both are interesting and fun tunes you should check out to get a an almost full grasp of the duo’s talents.

Aside from being crafty composers and lyricists, Kento Ito and Yoshiki Nakajima are vocal powerhouses. For those familiar with this duo – or in their individual bits of singing work done in other projects -, they are among the best singers in the seiyuu industry.

Both are extremely talented singers excelling in their own, characteristical techniques, they have their individual quirks and different singing range. All of those contribute for the duo’s performances to be engaging and appealing in completely different senses and settings. This is why this duo’s performances are so pleasing to the ears – even if there are some hiccups along the way with some instrumentals or excessive vocals manipulation.

HOME is a comfortable release that further explores the group’s trademark laidback pop-rock sound. However, as fans of the group, we consider that they are talented beyond words but this single wasn’t near the quality that they have showed us before. This is a good entry in their repertoire but it feels that they are still testing the waters before releasing something that we will talk about without an end. They have the ability and talent to impress us, the question is: when will they unleash their talents in full? We look forward for their next releases.

HOME is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

UMake 2nd Single "HOME" / Umake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
Umake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
UMake 2nd Single "HOME" / Umake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)
Umake (Kento Ito, Yoshiki Nakajima)

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Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silva
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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