Album Review//Shinyawaku - Tokyo Jihen

Tokyo Jihen broke up earlier this year with a final EP and tour that reached many millions of people the world over via cinema broadcasts, DVD and Blu-ray and on that note you'd think they'd be done. But here we are with the second compilation this year following the somewhat pointless Tokyo Collection. Shinyawaku is therefore perhaps greeted with a wary glance in either direction but all is not as it seems as Seba Rashii Culture discovers...

Album Review//Tokyo Jihen - Shinyawaku
The previous Shiina Ringo associated compilation album, her own retrospective double disc release Watashi to Hoden was a welcome addition to the catalogue. Bringing as it did, many great songs found only on singles or DVD together into one electric package. The  break up of Tokyo Jihen earlier this year brings the bands non album tracks together therefore on Shinyawaku, with it's anime themed cover greeting the listener gamely. 

The content, despite the eye brow raising that many will no doubt indulge in, is in fact anything  but the cheap compilation that many will make it out to be. The previously released non album material gains a flow on album, given a home in which they can develop their own life. Notably, the tracks sourced from the sessions for Variety gain an unexpected currency here, sounding almost on par with the rest of the material like they never did on single. And that perhaps is the joy here, given the chance to make comparison with other songs on the same album they improve greatly with time. 

The more jazzy earlier songs sound still excellent, especially the ever entertaining Dynamite! and an astounding version of The Lady is A Tramp, where Ringo's vocal skills are at their best. The opening and closing tracks are brand new ones, Hansamu Sugite having previously appeared only on DVD, (It's still an addictive listen as well!) and closer The Beat Goes On (English transliteration) perhaps being a sessions track just seeing a release now isn't bad but it would have been nice to see the band go out with a confident bang rather than a quiet wave.  Elsewhere Gaman still has a hard edged charm and Koi wa Maboroshi is as brilliant a listen as ever, perhaps as close to disco as the band have got. 

As a way to close the legacy of a great band - although we doubt it truly will be for some reason - it's a good book end release but despite the excellent material found here we're still in two minds as to whether it truly was time for a band clearly still very active to close...

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan. 

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