Ling Tosite Sigure
i'mperfect


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Robinson USER (43 Reviews)
April 13th, 2013 | 89 replies


Release Date: 04/10/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not quite perfect, but close enough.

Rock bands have a lot in common with a nice pair of jeans, not limited to the way they change over time. Some artists are like a pair of pre-washed mall jeans - they come out fully formed and attractive at first, but they quickly fall apart and tear on their second, third, or fourth albums, and you realize they're not really worth the price you paid. Others are like crispy, raw denim - a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but showing their full potential as they develop and gain character over time, finding their identity with each successive release.

But then there are other jeans - and bands - that don't fit either mold. Like Ling Tosite Sigure. If Sigure is a pair of jeans, then they're black denim with a purple weft that was woven on an ancient Japanese shuttle loom that looks like it fell out of outer space. Strange, unique, and with no clear indication of how they'll fade over time. If at all.

If Sigure's a pair of jeans, then eight years' worth of music suggest that they're well made and look good - but are very slow to change. How much does a band necessarily need to evolve? However you answer that question is probably going to determine whether or not you can enjoy Ling Tosite Sigure's new album – it will definitely determine how you read its title.

From one point of view, it seems like a step backward from Still A Sigure Virgin?, the band's most experimental effort yet. The sputtering glitchiness of Shandy and subdued eF were quite different from anything else the band had ever released. In comparison, i'mperfect is a straight-ahead rock album that gives us more of Sigure's astral power-rock, but nothing that really pushes the conceptual limits of what they've done before.

But Sigure hasn't so much de-evolved as they have branched into two different creatures. Singer/guitarist TK's quieter compositions, electronic influences, and experimental tendencies all came out in last year's solo album Flowering, which featured more studio trickery, overdubs, and extra instrumentation in comparison to his band's albums. It was the natural result of the experimentation that began on Just A Moment and Sigure Virgin.

I'mperfect, on the other hand, certainly contains its quieter moments, but they never last long, and overall it's probably the band's most aggressive album since their sophomore release Inspiration Is Dead. Beautiful Circus is a propulsive opening track with thermonuclear guitar lines and jetpack choruses, a song that requires many listens to absorb all its intricacies despite the immediate appeal. Abnormalize follows in much the same manner, albeit less memorable than the opening track. But there is a conscious effort for thematic expansion: Metamorphose and Sitai Miss Me are rich in haunting melodies that most other bands would never conceive in the first place. Most of the songs average slightly under four minutes in length, and despite the chaotic blend of suspended arpeggios, jagged funk chords, and entrancing choruses, everything sounds cohesive and consistent.

Maybe consistent is the best word to describe i'mperfect; it has a similar quality throughout that highlights weak points in Sigure Virgin's peaks-and-valleys approach. While that album had some of Sigure's finest moments, songs like Illusion Is Mine, eF, or Secret G aren't ultimately that memorable. Even if i'mperfect doesn't quite reach as high as previous efforts, there's no filler or glaring weaknesses, either.

Regardless, the album does have a few particular standouts. Filmsick Mystery starts out sounding nearly upbeat, with an incredible chorus that uses TK and Miyoko's back-and-forth singing to full effect. And Monster is almost unquestionably the album's highlight, with verses and choruses that all sound quite different from each other but somehow contribute to a coherent whole propelled by the ambiguous euphoria that characterizes Sigure at their best: watching the end of the universe from inside a collapsing star.

Kimi To Oku and Missing Ling constitute over a quarter of the album's running time but show that despite the band's trademark speed and aggression, they're also skilled at thoughtfully pacing their musical ideas across a longer running time. Missing Ling doesn't quite seem to reach the climax it suggests – just as the song seems ready to explode halfway through, it never quite manages to do it. But it's still a stronger track than most of their other songs like in the six or seven minute range, like Sergio Echigo or Boukan, which either felt repetitive or uneven despite flashes of genius.

i'mperfect probably isn't the best album of Sigure's career – it might be the most consistently good, though, and it's still a stronger effort than their debut #4, in which the band had a good grasp of their identity but hadn't quite developed the powerful melodic sensibility that's characterized their later works. Several years on a major label – even having Abnormalize featured as an anime opening theme – hasn't dulled Sigure's aggression. The songs are more intricately-played and deliberately composed than ever. Even if their style is slow to evolve, the band's unique blend of funk riffs, rumbling basslines, and ethereal, entrancing choruses is still exciting. Post-hardcore artists seem to run out of steam pretty quickly, but Sigure continues to release exciting music of a quality that demands the attention of anybody who wishes The Fall Of Troy hadn't peaked with their first album, or who wonders what would have happened if At The Drive-In hadn't broken up.

Like a stiff pair of black Japanese jeans, this band might be slow to change their colors, but they offer a unique hue not found anywhere else - and which you'll enjoy for years to come.



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user ratings (74)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
sixdegrees
April 12th 2013


17190 Comments


weird review but yeah this is prob my favorite 2013 release so far

Digging: yasumiyasumi - Tokyo Digital Love

Captain North
April 12th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

NEW ALBUM YES I LOVE YOU FOR TELLING ME THIS YES

Best. Band.

YosemiteHam
April 12th 2013


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Absolutely adore some of the songs on this album like Metamorphose, Make Up Syndrome, MONSTER, and Missing Ling, but I'd say the best all around album is still Just A Moment.

Captain North
April 13th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, on first couple of listens this is the most trouble I've ever had getting into them. I don't know if it's the production or the mass of effects TK uses on his guitar, but a lot of this is just confusing wall of sound. Hopefully on further listens it'll unravel a bit for me and I'll start to pick songs apart.

Their first three albums and EP were all pretty much perfect. These days their music is a tad too busy. Still great though

Captain North
April 13th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Also, good review dude. Although I disagree about missing ling. I think it's the least effective ballad they've done

instantradical
April 13th 2013


214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A few songs like Abnormalize are like that, but I think the album's best songs (like Filmsick Mystery and Monster) are actually pretty straightforward instrumentally, if not structurally. But yeah, I can see why all of TK's shredding in the first two tracks would give that impression.

Captain North
April 13th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's more than the first two that do it, but yeah, I'm sure it's gonna unravel a bit for me as time goes by. The density is something that I felt first popped up in still a virgin, and was apparent in flowering to a lesser degree. So clearly something he's keen to keep doing

amanwithahammer
April 13th 2013


497 Comments


Oh yes listening for the first time now

ashcrash9
April 13th 2013


391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review. I heard Abnormalize from Psycho-Pass and thus this was my first Sigure release. My favorites from this are that track and the last two. From what I've gathered all their albums are great, any specific one I should check out next?

Also, anyone know where I can find lyrics to this? Been looking since it came out but no luck so far.

SpritzSpritz
April 13th 2013


528 Comments


where has this band been all my life

instantradical
April 13th 2013


214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ashcrash9: All of their records are awesome, though personally I don't like #4 and Feeling Your UFO as much as the rest.

jessicorn
April 13th 2013


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is not Sigure's best album for me, but i think Filmsick Mystery and Monster are superb.

jessicorn
April 13th 2013


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ashcrash9: find the lyrics here littleoslo.com/lyj/home/?s=凛として時雨
and use google translate to make it romaji lol XD

Captain North
April 13th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Inspiration is DEAD and just a moment are their best, but I love Feeling Your UFO and #4 almost as much. TKs solo effort is fantastic too

treeqt.
April 14th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

they have one of the most consistent discographies to be honest. i like #4 the least as well but it's still a strong 4.

new mv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkwICwnlOqU

kitsch
April 14th 2013


5107 Comments


Didnt dig the album by them that you recd me tom but it was intriguing enough to make me think about checking this out.

ashcrash9
April 14th 2013


391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, jessicorn.

Captain North
April 15th 2013


6789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, you might get the most out of his solo work or Just a Moment. The vocals are less jarring

And I feel regardless of whether people like the music, TK is one of the most insanely talented guitarists to ever grace rock
music

treeqt.
April 15th 2013


9704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

no doubt he is

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2013


1672 Comments


This sounds sweet. Where can I find a stream of it?



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