By: The Busted Amp Staff
One of my personal favorite artists right now, Kishi Bashi, formerly the violinist for the band of Montreal, has been quietly cementing himself as one of the most talented musicians in the industry right now, ever since he captivated us with his incredible performance of "Manchester" from his debut solo album, 151a. Now 3 albums into his solo career, K. Ishibashi has managed to achieve the rare feat of making each of his albums better than the last. I was really worried that Kishi Bashi was not going to be able to follow up the wonderful Lighght, After hearing the first single, "Say Yeah," this worry did not go away. While I did somewhat enjoy this song, I was not sold on the new 80's style for Kishi Bashi. Well, after hearing the entire LP, I can say I am extremely sold on this new and fun style. About the only misstep on the entire album ironically is the debut single, "Say Yeah" which turned out to be an extremely odd choice given the rest of this terrific album.
However, despite this slightly lackluster single, every other song on this LP is phenomenal. Kishi Bashi immediately captivates the listener in the opener "m'lover" and delivers lyrics in a way only Kishi Bashi can. "I want to do what lovers do with you/I want to walk the edge of the earth with you/I want to say to you the minute we feel the heat would you be m'lover?" The album never lets up, as after "Say Yeah" it feels like each song is better than the last. "Honeybody" is a lovely and distinctly Kishi Bashi track that is a great closer to Sonderlust. This is a track that.....if you've never heard any Kishi Bashi song in your life, is as good a place to start as any.
If there's one thing that can inspire the creative process, it's heavy, personal struggle. In K. Ishibashi's case, marital issues and a brief separation from his wife inspired Sonderlust, an album that is filled with darker lyrical subject matter, but manages to keep the upbeat, poppy sound that's relatable and enjoyable. Album opener "m'lover" brought to mind what an Animal Collective and Passion Pit love child would sound like. The sampled production, the upper tenor vocals, and the danceable, catchy chorus all come together successfully to open the album on a high note.
Lead single "Say Yeah" is sandwiched in between my two favorite songs on the album, "Hey Big Star" and "Can't Let Go, Juno". While I wasn't as down on it as Joseph was, I will say that it wouldn't have been my choice for lead single. With that being said, these are the three strongest songs to appear consecutively on an album that Kishi Bashi has produced thus far in his career. "Can't Let Go, Juno" is the highlight of the album for me, with its synth keys and some of the most heartbreaking and personal lyrics that I've heard from him. It's a raw peek into his life and the emotions that laid the foundation for the album. This is the strongest top-to-bottom release yet for Kishi Bashi, and it's not even close. The arrangements on these songs are bigger, bolder, and more layered than ever. The attention is less focused on K's solo violin playing, and in many cases it's why the songs work in expressing the pain he's feeling. The only miss for me is closer, "Honeybody", which is a silly, island music-sounding song that just doesn't fit with the other songs on the album. Or maybe I just don't get it.
Derek just doesn't get it.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here.