Polyvinyl Record Co.
Tokyo-born multi-instrumentalist Shugo Tokumaru is back with a fun new album laden with maddening and enchanting sounds. From high-energy tunes that don’t seem to come with a brake pedal, to slower, heartfelt ballads, Tokumaru transports the listener on a dizzying, playful sonic journey. The number of unique sounds featured on this record is literally in the hundreds, ranging from out of tune guitars to rubber ducks, and from alarm clocks to lip smacking, just to name a few. Known for his love of unusual sounds and instrumentation, Tokumaro’s creative arrangements and sound combinations never seem to wane.
As an album, In Focus? is very cohesive; it feels like a collection of variations on a theme, with each song evolving into the next. This body of work, like Tokumaru’s past repertoire, has a child-like innocence to it. It conjures up images of children’s playtime; the plinking of a toy piano, the clanging of pots and pans, and infectious, carefree enthusiasm. This record is bottled up sunshine; poppy, romping, and just pure fun. Tokumaru tinkers with elements that are somewhat experimental, yet somehow makes them accessible. Though the lyrics are in Japanese, the songs have a universal quality to them, breaking through the language barrier and bringing a smile to listeners’ faces, no matter where in the world they are.
Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky (Twitter @marisodo)
Album Review: Shugo Tokumaru – In Focus?