Lately, I’ve been trying to pin down my opinions on bands and such. Hopefully, posts like these will be helpful to people who are trying to get into certain groups, but don’t know how. Of course, since these are opinion posts, you might not end up agreeing with me, but hopefully someone reading this gains a little insight into where to go.
サリー (Sally) is a self-proclaimed “Touhou Project Vocal Rock Arrange” music circle. Started in May of 2011 (a month after the trial of Ten Desires was released, no less!), the two members ワニ (wani) and NSY have been releasing an album of Touhou arranges at each of the (what I would consider) main doujin events in Japan: Reitaisei, Summer Comiket, and Winter Comiket. They seem to have no intentions of stopping anytime soon, going through each game and arranging almost all the songs in each over the course of 2 albums, starting with Ten Desires (before the full game was released), then moving forward from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
This is a ridiculous amount of content; while the arrangement work is split between the two of them (as well as support member シュリンプ (shrimp)), that’s still a total of 21 tracks a year. Even more impressive is the consistent quality of arrangements, as well the consistency in style between all 3 arrangers. Musically, it’s hard to tell the difference between a song arranged by NSY and ワニ. I’ve often tried to guess who did what, using my pre-established notions on their “strong points,” and have failed miserably. It seems the two are good friends (
though it seems they live in separate regions of Japan ワニ moved to Tokyo in 2014, making サリー a Tokyo-based circle) and are musically in sync when it comes to making this kind of music.
サリー’s musical style overall is what I would describe as a very straight-forward alternative rock band sound. If I were to compare them to other bands, the first I would say is definitely Silversun Pickups; capable of crafting soothing, kind melodies, as well as harder, grooving progressions, depending on the song. In addition, the pair are unafraid of adding synth instruments to the mix, so in the end it feels like a full 5-6 person band is playing. And while シュリンプ has a tendency to play with song structures and arrange intricate/noodle-y guitar lines, his songs are still similar in style.
Vocal duties are split between 4 quest vocalists: IZNA, 茶太 (chata), ランコ (ranko), and めらみぽっぷ (meramipop), who each have their own unique voice that keeps any one album from becoming repetitive (if that’s even a concern for some people). People with even a little knowledge of circles and their members might recognize ランコ and めらみ, singers I would consider “pinch hitters” for a lot of the more visible (ie. popular) circles.
With 9 full albums already under their belt, you might be wondering where to start had you never listened to them before. This is the hard part, because it’s not a question of “which albums are good and which are bad,” but rather a question of “which albums would you consider better,” because I would say all of the albums are great.
However, there are certainly some albums that stand out to me more than others, and were I to rank the albums by personal preference (subject to change)…
Songs (Top 5):
Make no mistake about the quality of the lower albums listed here, however; some of my favorite サリー songs are on those albums, even if they don’t make it into my subjective “top 5.” And I’ve noted other fans consider my lower-rated albums as being some of サリー’s best in their opinions. However, it’s probably easiest to get into them through Syndrome, Less, or Byou because of the catchiness of the majority of songs on those records, as well as being a very nice average of the overall style of サリー as a whole. And for some people who only know of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and its music… well, you can’t go wrong starting with Syndrome, then.
I cannot emphasize enough that every album is worth a listen, if you like this kind of music. You shouldn’t expect anything mind-meltingly original or different as far as “rock band sound” goes, but the quality of arrangements and the production values are of such a consistent high quality that you’re doing yourself a disservice by not giving the group a try.
For your convenience, I have compiled a “short” playlist consisting of a few songs from each album that I think will generally represent サリー’s overall style. I would suggest shuffling the playlist, as I’ve put the songs in chronological order.
シュリンプ (Arrangement, Guitar, Bass, Programming) [since サドマゾヒズム]
茶太 (Vocal, Chorus)
ランコ (Vocal, Chorus) @butaotome_ranko
IZNA (Vocal, Chorus, Lyrics) @StE_IZNA
めらみぽっぷ (Vocal, Chorus, Lyrics) @melime93
ふーかでぃあ (Illustration) @govurin
Please remember, that if you like artists, to please support them. サリー’s latest CDs can be purchased through Melonbooks, Toranoana, D-STAGE, and Akibaookoku. At this point in time, items must be purchased through these stores using a middleman service.