Shinobu - 10 Thermidor (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


10 Thermidor (2015)

Really Records / Lauren Record

This is my first review for the year and I'm pretty glad that it's one that shoved all my doubts about this particular band right out the door. I have always found Shinobu to be a bit overrated. I never saw what their fans were latching onto. It's not that they weren't good. It's just that albums like Strange Spring Air seemed average to me. However, I realized by the time this album ended that Shinobu is a band that suits you when you're settling down for an easy listen- Sitting back, feet kicked up, cup of coffee in one hand and the newspaper in the other. And when their idiosyncrasies start to sink in, you'll be dropping everything and looking up at the ceiling with a wry smile on your face. This more or less sums up 10 Thermidor in a nutshell. It's soft but intense.

Shinobu have always prided themselves on sharp guitars and a quirky, dynamic sound. This record does all that pretty well but it also feels like their best attempt at storytelling to date. Production-wise, it feels pretty crisp and well put-together. I guess the non-complexity of their music helps give way to this as well. It varies a lot from singalong, head-nodders to talky jams but all in all, most of what you're left soaking in are mid-tempo indie rock tunes which really help cast a beautiful light on the genre. "The Void" is a very good example of this and sets the stage for the stronger songs such as "Violence House". This slow, bass-heavy beast is their most lyrically impressive to date and is pure, contemplative rock 'n roll done right.

The self-titled closer also adopts this musical method of approach and helps wash away the folky-stuff that made me lose interest in them in the past. As Jeff Rosenstock throws his two cents in on the thrash-punk anthem in "Jokes", it does feel like they played it a bit safe though. 10 Thermidor could have cut loose a bit more but I guess you can't fault a band for playing to their strengths. This will please loyalists, no doubt, and definitely is a great access point for new fans like myself. Not a bad way to kick off 2015.