I’d like to strongly urge you readers to do yourselves a favor, and open up Spotify or Apple music and look up the just recently released album “My Name is SOLEIL”…
SOLEIL, you see, is a band, but it’s also the name of the band’s lead singer, and together they’ve released an uplifting and exciting album that recalls Shibuya-kei and the 60’s rock genre known in Asia as “Group Sounds”. And if you also love the classic girl-group era and the heyday of French ye-ye pop, well, herein awaits a tasty treat as well. To call this recording pure joy is a trifle bit of an understatement. This is a captivating concoction of nostalgic vibes bursting at the seams with fresh modern energy, it’s just really that good.
— まゆたん1/25ひなぎくのしとね (@mayutan3) March 24, 2018
The band SOLEIL is spearheaded by a gentleman named Sally Kubota, a prolific songwriter, bassist and also a graphic designer. (The design aesthetic of Monari Wakita‘s solo work is his doing.) He’s had a number of musical projects running concurrently, and this is his latest. This new project is a testament of love for timeless music, capped off with providing the design work for the group’s releases. The artwork and promotional campaign, naturally, places SOLEIL herself up front and center.
— MIKAN編集部 (@MIKAN_HENSHUBU) March 13, 2018
And what about this singer who’s getting so much attention? A British/Japanese wunderkind, SOLEIL clearly has that distinct “idol connection” with the band’s audience, and it’s no wonder she handles it so well, because she’s done the idol gig before. She was a member of a kid’s idol duo called Tanqun Democracy (A group whose theme was to express the emotions of a junior high-school student.) that released a few singles, including a song written by Tenma of Urbangarde. Of course, this brings idol followers into the fold, along with those who are into the Shibuya-kei and Group Sounds scenes, so a terrific cross-pollination is happening among the group’s fan-base.
Prior to this album, SOLEIL released a single on the Vivid Sound Label, (Home of Monari Wakita and now Avandoned.) a charming tune called “Pinky Fluffy”, coupled with a cover of Swing Out Sister‘s “Breakout”. On the strength of that release, this new album is available records on Victor Records.
For us Western listeners, one negative with a major label is some of their newest original video content is falling victim to the old YouTube region-blocking hassle. (Ugh, get your proxies out, it’s worth your time.) Thank goodness Apple Music and Spotify are here to help get this music to our eagerly waiting ears. I’ve been playing “My Name is SOLEIL” all weekend and decided I need to get myself a permanent copy to own. I have a feeling I won’t be the only one after you give it a listen.