It's been done before, it's long since been novelty: a full length album containing one song. Yet Long Season
doesn't rely on this structure to sell its ambition. It wasn't forced into this shape nor created to fill the mold. Equally organic and integral, the album grew into its size because that is how it adapted naturally. Long Season
is ambitious in that sense, as it demands discipline to get through while also being dismissed by those who can't help but view the one-song-album structure as a tired gimmick. But even a single trip through the album should prove otherwise. It manages to remain appreciable and, more importantly, palatable throughout its journey by grounding itself in its dream pop roots. Yet don't let this fool you, as woven throughout the record are not so subtle complexities rarely fruited in this genre. There are long pockets of ambiance, progression in songwriting, and incredible instrumental. It all comes from so many places, from the hypnotic piano sequence and the responding synth and guitar, to the insistent march of the drums and Shinji Sato's magnificent vocals. All tied together with absolute precision.
I attempted to write more precisely about the music itself, multiple times actually – all scrapped. What came out inevitably bordered between summary and personal interpretation, two things that don't make for a good review. Long Season
is a very interpretable album anyways, especially in a Western world facing the Japanese language barrier; intuition and connection draped above whatever Sato may actually be saying (although it's evident that he eventually drops language entirely from his vocals). There's the intrinsic and primal percussion throughout, the antagonistic Part 3 crevassing down the middle of the record, the shyness of Part 1 repeated in the triumphant Part 5 as a stellar solution. Its all narrative. At times the story may seem to meander without direction, but this ultimately provides a character study of how these elements interact within the album's environment. After the 30 minute song fades, it leaves a sort of impression that is as hard to identify as it is to ignore. And that's the ultimate beauty of Long Season
, and its purpose if it ever needed one.