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 promoted 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 group to secure a deal with the visual kei label Danger Crue, one of the biggest indies in Japan, which also worked with Mucc, and Ken from L'Arc-en-Ciel.
Sid's first record, the live-limited single "Kaijou-Ban," arrived in early 2004. At that time, the band's career was boosted by their 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 titled Renai ("Pitiful") followed suit. Even though this visual kei offering failed to crack the Oricon charts, the band's extensive touring revealed a significant fan base that had 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 ("City of Stars," 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, Sid 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 fan base steadily continued to grow, they remained extremely popular in Japan, where their next two albums -- 2011's surprisingly raw Dead Stock and 2012's smooth M&W -- also charted highly. The more lightweight Outsider followed in 2014.
Sid then went on a three-year hiatus while Mao launched a solo career. His debut solo mini-album, Maison de M, was released in 2016 and eschewed rock altogether for a lush Latin jazz sound. That year, Sid fans were tided over with the compilation album All Singles Best. The band returned in 2017 with their ninth album, Nomad, a real return to form and their strongest release in years. The mini-album Ichiban Sukina Basho ("My Favorite Place") followed in 2018, and their tenth full-length, Shounin Yokkyuu ("Need for Approval"), appeared in 2019. ~ Alexey Eremenko & John D. Buchanan