Sid

M&W

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Since their 2009 major-label debut, Hikari (Light) -- and arguably even before -- Sid have plowed a remarkably consistent furrow. Their smooth, unthreatening fusion of pop, rock, and Latin jazz has made them a household name in Japan and a huge hit elsewhere in East Asia, and gained them a cult following around the world. On M&W (based around the theme of "men & women") they continue to perfect this chart-friendly formula; the album contains no fewer than four Oricon Top Ten singles. Each song is a gorgeous pop confection that grips the attention for its duration, but is utterly forgettable the moment it has finished. This is in no way a slight, however. What Sid do, they do exceptionally well; their undeniable chops, Mao's sweet, high voice, the catchy melodies, sweeping string arrangements, and super-slick production make them a thoroughly refreshing proposition. Here, they flirt with the usual range of genres and tempos -- there is jazzy, brassy ska-pop on "Ghost Apartment" and "Mom," propulsive rock balladry on "Itsuka" (Someday) and "Ito" (Thread), and a Latin feel on "Dress Code" and "Café de Bossa." Only "S," theme song from the Ring sequel Sadako 3D, sticks out like a bit of a sore thumb with its grinding punk-metal riff harking back to Hikari's "Capsule." Obviously meant to capture some of the darkness of the film's titular villainess, it's easily one of the heaviest things they've ever done, unrelenting yet tempered with nifty acoustic work and a singalong chorus. Fans of the band should lap this album up, and it should also appeal to the casual listener searching for a middle ground between the sometimes self-consciously dark visual kei sound and the banal, saccharine superficiality of more mainstream J-pop.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
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blue highlight denotes track pick