Kishi Bashi: 151A
- Kishi Bashi is the solo project for Kaoru Ishibashi, who's the lead vocalist from the New York band Jupiter One, and also tours as a violinist and multi-instrumentalist with the likes of Regina Spektor and of Montreal. His debut album 151a is an interesting listen, although I spent a lot of time trying to pin down who it reminded me of. One moment he sounds a whole lot like Owen Pallett, the next you're wondering if you're listening to Animal Collective. There are definite moments that sound like outtakes from of Montreal's best albums, with samples and psychedelic effects looping to a forcefully danceable beat. Other times it's much more quiet, slow and introspective, though it never veers into traditional singer-songwriter territory; the melodies are always ornamented by layers of string instruments, and harmonies like something from a Fleet Foxes album. Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens are other obvious reference points for their tendency toward lush orchestration and effortless genre-hopping.
If any of the artists I just namedropped are your thing, I'd highly recommend that you pick up this album. Ignore all those comparisons and Kishi Bashi's own unique style begins to emerge, and it's worth paying attention to. For my money, this is one of the most impressive debut albums of 2012, and I'll be looking forward to hearing what Kishi Bashi does next. Australian listeners are especially lucky, as the three bonus tracks on the Aussie release are among the best songs on the album.
- Grace Nye.