Oh Shugo, I’m in love again. There is something about this little Japanese import that is flush with the type of magic you feel when you go to Disneyland when your eight years old. On this, Shugo’s third proper album, his previous melancholy has brightened noticeably. A deft multi instrumentalist, Tokumaru’s songs have become progressively more complex with hordes of morphing melodies running throughout each second of each song. Tokumaru masterfully employs all sorts of odd and unique instrumentation as he continues to develop his singularly unique sound. The result is powerfully packed folk-pop candy that is endlessly enjoyable. Despite the disconnect with the language (is he really singing “bra-shoe” in the chorus of the opening song?), Tokumaru’s Japanese lyrics and soft voice continue to be as soothing as ever. Even now, just now as I am writing and listening to the album, I can’t keep a grin off my face. Tokumaru must be manufacturing some kind of magic that he infuses in his songs. If true, I wouldn’t be surprised; Exit is bewitching every step of the way. And, as was true with his previous releases, Exit has an uncanny ability of completely transport you when the music hits your ears. Listening to Exit is like wearing enchanted glasses that somehow make everything more vibrant and enjoyable, and for those things which aren’t so pleasant, more tolerable. It is just a side effect of insurmountable charm coupled with unequaled composition and execution. Shugo Tokumaru has won my little boyish heart and has reverted me to a childlike state of obsessive adoration. Being Decemeber, I feel quite comfortable labeling Exit as one of the very best albums of the year.
Shugo Tokumaru - "Green Rain"