Shugo Tokumaru
Port Entropy


3.5
great

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
September 6th, 2010 | 26 replies | 5,648 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not as resonant as Tokumaru's others, but still quite enjoyable

Shugo Tokumaru's debut, Night Piece, will always have significance for me even if I grow to dislike its desolate, melancholic sound, for some odd reason. This is because, before I found myself immersed within that album, I always had trouble getting really involved with records by singer/songwriters who didn't primarily sing in English. Call it ignorant if you want, but not having a proper understanding of what was being said made certain albums inaccessible to me. Night Piece was different, if only because it taught me to stop focusing on the fact that I didn't formally know what was being said, and instead attempt to focus on feeling out the emotions behind the language, to try and decipher the meaning of Tokumaru's obviously personal lyrics. The intimacy of the record also helped: the forthrightness of the vocals and the hazy, invitational feel of the production hooked me quite easily.

Point is, Night Piece effectively readied me for a smorgasbord of different artists, and heavily expanded my tastes. And whatever. It also readied me for a record like Port Entropy. Without this understanding of Tokumaru's previous work, Port Entropy's exoticism would be far too off-putting and foreign; instead, its dense sound makes perfect sense when you understand that this is a culmination of a natural progression that has lasted Tokumaru's entire career. Tokumaru wisely strengthens the softening edges of Exit, which was so sweet that it rotted, without going backwards. Songs like the tender piano ballad "Linne" and the hazy, drifting "Laminate" - which combines a soft, droning acoustic ballad with a structure reminiscent of the swells and ambitions of post-rock - show an obvious growth.

Other songs, like "River Low" and "Suisha", are more familiar and harken back to the folk-oriented sound of L.S.T. But Tokumaru has improved immeasurably since that record, and while these songs - as well as others like "Rum Hee" and "Malerina", which stands as Tokumaru's catchiest song yet - may have a familiar base, they are simply more enjoyable than his previous stuff. In particular, Tokumaru's noticeably sharpened skills for infectious melodies lift Port Entropy's material far past the benchmark Exit set: the easygoing and floaty songs are grounded by their driving, forthright choruses.

Port Entropy is a remarkable album, one that fully shows its creator in full control of all of his abilities. However, as masterful and as catchy as much of Port Entropy is, the emotional connection I felt with Night Piece just isn't here. It's certainly a stronger, more balanced effort than anything Tokumaru's ever done before, but I've just found it difficult to really get emotionally invested in it, like I did with Night Piece (for this reason, that record will probably always remain supreme for me in Tokumaru's oeuvre). Port Entropy's just too flashy; melodies spike into your brain pleasurably like a dropper on every song, but it all just seems unreal, if Night Piece was the stark truth. There's a sense of detachment when I listen to this record that's weirdly hard to explain, and it's certainly hard to shake. As it is, anyways, Port Entropy's still vastly enjoyable on a surface-level; this certainly counts for something.



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3.8
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Eric (4)
Instead of breaking away from the innocent, whimsicalities of his past and “maturing,” Tokumaru ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



3743 Comments


been sitting on this for a while, just made some adjustments

used to like this more =(

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



14884 Comments


hey cam luv u

joshuatree
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



3743 Comments


luv u 2 lily allen :*

robin
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



4221 Comments


i like reading things that are written by this guy

PirateSquid
September 6th 2010



1881 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lahahahaha is the single most catchy song in existence

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



15693 Comments


i love you cam, but seeing this review just made me really miss lewis. =/

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

gaslightanthem
September 6th 2010



5209 Comments


cam you're a pretty good reviewerwhen they gon make you staff?

gaslightanthem
September 6th 2010



5209 Comments


also you have the best taste (apart from me)

joshuatree
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



3743 Comments


also you have the best taste (apart from me)


i'll take second best

and yeah where did that guy go guy being lewis

SeaAnemone
September 6th 2010



18802 Comments


fantastic review, and basically agreed on all accounts... it just seems like your connection to Night Piece really diminishes the significance of this, right?

And what exactly didn't you like about Exit, if you don't mind me asking?

Enotron
September 6th 2010



7695 Comments


where is lewis?

joshuatree
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



3743 Comments


And what exactly didn't you like about Exit, if you don't mind me asking?


exit was just a little too sweet for my liking. i found it cute to the point of almost being annoying on some songs, but, then again, exit has "parachute", which is like my favorite tokumaru song. so idk, just didn't stick with me, it's like a 3 or something for me i guess.

personally i like L.S.T. more than this and exit, that album's kinda underrated around here

SeaAnemone
September 6th 2010



18802 Comments


LST's the only one I've never heard... and "Parachute" is also my favorite.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



14884 Comments


clocca and future umbrella are amazing

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



17912 Comments


lewis hasn't had internet 4 awhile

Tits McGee
September 6th 2010



1876 Comments


good review cam. never heard a full shugo album I may change that

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2010



30294 Comments


Nice review, what would be the best starting point for this guy?

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 6th 2010



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this. And I totally agree about Exit being too sweet, it was sickly at times.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2010



6958 Comments


I agree with many of the points you make. Night Piece is the only album of his I can tolerate all the way through.

Digging: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

foreverendeared
September 7th 2010



14678 Comments


Exit is SO good. Don't have anything else by Shugo though



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