Review of Shugo Tokumaru's album 'Rum Hee'
The next time a parent, older friend or any rose-tinted glasses wearer proclaims that music used to be so much better in the 'good old days' don't resort to derision or argument; simply put on Shugo Tokumaru's 'Rum Hee' EP and watch any reminiscence-driven brow furrowing disappear.
The follow up to last year's full-length 'Exit' is positively ecstatic, brimming full of ideas that have roots in the hazy pop of the sixties but sear light-years into the future. This technique is nothing new of course, indeed at some points the album bears a close resemblance to the Beatles aping of Dr Dog or the pastel-psych of The Ruby Suns but Shugo doesn't merely hold a mirror to his predecessors so much as deconstruct every element and twist them into something much more modern and much more urgent.
Yet the greatest quality of this EP is that for it's meticulous composition it is still inherently fun and freeflowing at heart, a testament to the 'music as a craft' attitude that has seen fellow countrymen Worlds End Girlfriend, Motoro Faam and Kashiwa Daisuke create similarly unmissable records over the past couple of years.
'Parachute' and the title track, the two strongest offerings on the EP, may be a couple shades away from being radio friendly but they are absolutely full to the brim of pop hooks and irresistible melodies, and even the two 'Rum Hee' remixes (provided by Oorutaichi and Deerhoof) that close the release offer plenty of originality.
'Rum Hee' is both nostalgic and futureproof; a perfect mix of ideas both old and new.