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シド

Since their emergence in the early 2000s, Sid came close to the J-rock top tier of the decade, largely by moving from their visual kei roots to a diversified sound that incorporated plenty of influences from power pop and disco to hints of heavy metal, blues, and even a Mediterranean folk influence. The band was started in 2003 by vocalist Mao and bassist Aki, who soon added guitarist Shinji and drummer Yuuya to the lineup (although the new members were officially lifted from session musicians only in 2004). All members had previous music experience (in particular, Mao and Yuuya played in the obscure outfit Shula), and this allowed the band to secure a deal with the visual kei label Danger Crue Records, which also works with Mucc, the solo project of Ken of L'Arc-en-Ciel.

Sid's first record, the single "Kaijou-Ban," arrived in early 2004. At that time the band's career was boosted by its performance at Anime Central in the U.S. in May 2004, where Sid filled the vacant slot left by Miyavi's cancellation. The U.S. show was a success, and an album Renai (Pitiful) followed suit. Even though this visual kei-styled offering failed to crack the Oricon charts, the band's extensive touring revealed a significant fan base that has already formed in Japan. Still, Sid began to shed their gothy visual kei pretentiousness, although retaining strong hints of eccentricity in their public behavior. Sid's musical shift toward a pop/rock-oriented sound was evident on their second studio album, Hoshi No Miyako (2005), and became complete with Play (2006). The albums charted accordingly, Hoshi No Miyako scoring number 26, Play entering the Top Ten at number nine, and Sentimental Macchiato climbing even higher (number eight in 2008). Their singles fared even better, with three entering the national Top Five in 2007.

Later in 2008 they signed a major label deal with Sony's Ki/oon imprint, and in 2009 released their fifth album Hikari ("Light"). The lush smoothness of their sound was ready-made for a pop-buying audience, and big marketing bucks brought them to even wider attention than ever before, with high-profile video spots and singles used as anime ending themes. The result was their highest ever chart position, with the album entering at number two. While their worldwide fanbase steadily continued to grow, they remained extremely popular in Japan, where their next two albums -- 2011's Dead Stock and 2012's M&W -- also charted highly. ~ Alexey Eremenko

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