Pop-rock duo Yorushika don’t just create upbeat songs, but also immersive stories featuring recurring characters and plots that unfold over the course of different albums. The project started in 2017, consisting of longtime Vocaloid music producer N-buna and vocalist Suis. The pair craft rollicking rock numbers topped off by bright hooks courtesy of Suis, but the lyrics aren’t all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Rather, Yorushika explore weightier themes like longing, isolation and the human condition, drawing influence from philosophy and literature. This balance between light and dark plays out in songs like “Rain with Cappuccino” and “Thoughtcrime”, brisk numbers concealing Suis’ heavier thoughts. The duo have also made a name for themselves by creating slow-burning stories built around multiple characters, like Amy and Elma, who appear across their first two full-length albums (including 2019’s Elma). This world-building approach to songwriting, reflecting N-buna’s background in the Vocaloid music scene, where settings and characters are more fully developed in songs, has helped Yorushika become leaders in a new movement of story-centric Japanese pop pushed forward by like-minded outfits such as ZUTOMAYO and YOASOBI. Yorushika excel at creating fanciful stories to escape into, which hit on the very real lives of people in Japan today.