Review Summary: Kishi Bashi reaches into the dusty ol' Americana bag and pulls out another gem.
For those who have not yet listened to Omoiyari
- Kishi Bashi's best album hands down
- please show yourself out now. I have no further use for you. I guess I'm kidding or something, but the following analogy will certainly be lost on you then: imagine that Kaoru Ishibashi decided to create an entire EP in the same vein as "Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea." That's not a good thing, it's an amazing
thing. You see, Omoiyari
was the full realization of Kishi Bashi's sound - it was gorgeous, pastoral, resplendent, and a slew of other adjectives that might only apply to Sufjan Stevens. For as much as I enjoyed that record, I often found myself wondering where he'd go next. How could he top the beautifully intertwined romance and urgency of 'Summer of 42'? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the answer was never going to be how he could top it, but it was instead going to be about how he could transform. "Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea" was an oddball closer for such a slickly produced LP - it was grainy, all guitars pluck-y, and the chorus felt like it could be sung at a backyard barbeque somewhere in Nowhere, America. I mean all this in the best way possible of course, because it's one of the best songs he's ever written - simultaneously catchy as hell, authentically rural, and indicative of a possible evolution in his sound. With this Emigrant
EP, we witness that evolution starting to take hold. A collection of six tracks, including Dolly Parton and Regina Spektor covers, Emigrant
is everything "Annie" was and then some. The acoustic guitars are rhythmically plucked, violins course throughout the EP's veins, fiddles are broken out with enthusiasm, and the rest is left to Ishibashi's mesmerizing harmonies. He's joined by incredible backing vocals from Emily Hope Price and Andrea Demarcus, which allow the melodies to swell and soar across the rustic soundscape. Each song feels like a bare-bones moment meant for life's most quiet, introspective, and contemplative moments. It's a piece of escapism, urging us not only to recognize the simple things in life but also to embrace them. It's really as Ishibashi sings on the somber penultimate 'Those Days are Gone': Soft as a glove, light as a dove...Just the purest of melodies