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Shugo Tokumaru

Label: Almost Gold / Startime
Released on: September 2nd, 2008
Reviewed by: Bob Nanna

You just jumped out of an airplane. It’s awesome. The wind rushing against your face, your heart racing, and the beautiful rolling landscape below, ready to catch and envelop you in its soft green blanket. The opening track of Shugo Tokumaru’s third album Exit would be the perfect song to accompany your freefall. And appropriately enough, titled “Parachute.” With its dueling lightning quick acoustic guitars and xylophone accents, it’s Nick Drake on speed but keeping all of the precious folk pop goodness. The song buzzes by with hints of Elliott Smith vocal melodies and a satisfying catchy and resolving chorus.

Once the wonderful skydive ends however, the album veers into strange territories making various stops in circus tents (“Clocca” with its creepy dissonance, the broken music box instrumental “Future Umbrella”), the open plains (The galloping, campfire ditty, “Saganichi”) and orchestral, layered 60’s pop (“Button” has a disconcerting Frankie Valli-esque chorus, the singing-saw psychedelica of “La La Radio” is). The album’s instrumental denouement, the out-of-tune-banjo driven “Wedding,” does little to soothe the ears after the wild ride. There’s a lot of fluffy noodling that could have been cut from Exit but enough curious whimsy in opener “Parachute” alone to beg repeat listens and intense curiosity for what’s to come.  


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