Shugo Tokumaru has continually evolved eir music to create something substantively different each time out. In Focus? is Tokumaru’s latest album, and the compositions that issue forth are some of the most complex efforts we have heard outside of full-blown concertos. The combined efforts of In Focus? provide listeners with a darkly emotive look into Tokumaru’s psyche as ey moves through indie to twee and even world music. Circle opens the title, while Katachi is a more sustained effort. Katachi also represents a difficult track to fully “get”; with the sheer amount of tracks here, listeners will have to spin this track numerous times before hearing every nuance presented.
The album maintains strength through its middle; the dynamic between short (Pah-Paka) and long (Tightrope) speaks well to the multi-faceted theme that is weaved through the album. Tightrope is an intense character study of Tokumaru, fueled by little more than a picked guitar. It is the richness of narrative that makes Tightrope a hit, providing listeners the momentum that they need to finish the final one-two of Down Down and Balloon. Rather than teasing via a shorter song, Tokumaru is able to expand upon themes of loss and levity to close out In Focus?. By taking on such heady notions, Tokumaru involves listeners not only through their hearts but through their minds. In Focus? is an album that will stick with fans long after the title concludes.
Make sure to purchase the Tokumaru disc from your local independent record store or from Polyvinyl themselves. The Polyvinyl website provides additional information about Tokumaru, the rest of their bands, and their slate of release through the remainder of 2013.
Top Tracks: Micro Guitar Music, Down Down
Shugo Tokumaru In Focus? CD Review / 2013 Polyvinyl / 15 Tracks / http://www.polyvinylrecords.com