Review by David Cirone
Tokyo Jihen’s albums have always been so eclectic, it might be hard to peg Shinya Waku as a B-side collection from the get-go. Die-hard fans will enjoy this coda to the band’s recent disbandment, but it’s safe to say that’s the target audience for this release. “Handsome Sugite” and “Pinocchio” will get a lot of replay, and while they’re both quite different stylistically, they carry the same magic of the best Tokyo Jihen album releases.
There’s a lot of playfulness in tracks like “Koi Hama Boroshi” and “Dynamite,” but the it’s just a surface engagement, like when you try on funny sunglasses in front of your friends — good for a little bit of novelty, but it’s only a few seconds before you’re ready to move on to the next experiment.
“Rakujitsu” and the closing track “Tadanaranu Kankei” are also worth a listen, and they showcase how cohesive Tokyo Jihen was as a band, how easily they could transition from ballads to jazz-funk. With Shiina Ringo’s vocals and creative intellect at the center, Tokyo Jihen was always inspired, never boring.