Review Summary: Entry number one – reimported.Civil Aviation Bureau
, the sequel to 2014’s Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku
, captures eleven new selections from Japan’s chameleon Shiina Ringo. Traversing through several genres, styles, and sounds, Ringo is revered for her consistency throughout her 20 year-long career, with songs that can be full on big-band extravaganzas, as heard on opener “Jinsei wa Yume Darake”, a return to the bizarre soundscapes from 2003’s Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana
with the blazing noise ballad “Yasei no Doumei” and the refined rocker “Jukinzoku Sei no Onna”. Like a good deal of Ringo’s albums, Civil Aviation Bureau
contains a great deal of diversity within its 43-minute confines, even with Ringo’s relative preference for highly orchestrated compositions that border on jazz and chamber pop rather than rock, with minor excursions into other sounds that you wouldn’t expect
her to try, but aren’t all too surprised by the decision one bit.
Songs such as “Naute no Doroboneko” mends an edgier sound to a clavinet-assisted funk arrangement, while markedly contrasting with the songs it’s sandwiched between – the lilting, delicate string-backed “Otona no Okite” and the acid jazz sound of “Karei naru Gyakushu”. A condensation of all her sounds is present on closer “Saihate ga Mitai." While gentle, it hides a lurking surge of feedback that never breaks free and dies out along with the song. What has been a constant factor for Ringo throughout the years, accounting for her consistency and several changes in her musical approach, has been her ability to put out a cohesive product; it’s impressive that for an album that is merely a collection of self-covers – material written for other artists – is somehow able to form an entertainingly cohesive piece of work. Civil Aviation Bureau
doesn’t necessarily stand up to Ringo’s superior works (not that it really
needs to in the first place), but offers fans a much more satisfying experience than Gyakuyunyū: Kōwankyoku
did to begin with, never straying too far from its comfort zone, but unafraid of trying something new as it goes along.