Album Review: Shinobu – “10 Thermidor”

On Friday, January 2, not even a full 48 hours into 2015, Shinobu took the metaphorical bar that we all use to measure how great or terrible things can be, and launched it into the atmosphere by releasing their brand new album 10 Thermidor. It’s always kind of unfair when a band sets the bar high so early into a new year, but at the same time, who really cares when the music is this good?

For an album with two songs that surpass the six minute mark, 10 Thermidor is a surprisingly quick listen and it’s over much too soon. It’s easy to get lost in the melodies of each and every song. From the opening progressions of “Untitled Michael Haneke Project”, 10 Thermidor casts its hook and reels listeners in with things like the repeated refrain of “It’s a lie” in “Culture, Inc.”, the aggressive, in-your-face “Jokes”, and the bouncing bass and “oooos” of “9 Thermidor”. By the time you reach the title track, it’s hard to believe that it’s already over.

Whether it’s Jeff Rosenstock’s production [Editor’s note: I’ve been informed that Rosenstock did not produce this album, his involvement was merely as the “hot-shot record mogul”] or due to guitarist/vocalist Mike Huguenor’s time spent with the likes of Hard Girls, Classics of Love, and The Bruce Lee Band, or simply because it’s just the natural progression of musical evolution between friends, 10 Thermidor is Shinobu’s most accessible album to date. Gone are the short interludes and filler tracks, resulting in a much more consistent listen. That said, the album still has plenty of quirks to keep it grounded in Shinobu’s indie rock background, including quietly layered keyboards to oddball guitar riffs, and a two minute emptiness in “The Void” (pretty clever, you guys).

Being the first record to be released in 2015 (well… probably the first), can be a lot of pressure, but 10 Thermidor handles that pressure with ease. It’s a fun, catchy, strong album and a promising start to a new musical year. Don’t sleep on it because of its early January release.

4 / 5 – Don’t let this one slip into the void, stream it below!

RIYL: Pavement, Bomb the Music Industry!, Laura Stevenson and the Cans

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