My thoughts on “TAKE A TRIP”, the first in a series of digital singles from Shihatsumachi Underground.
Release Date: July 10th 2020
1. TAKE A TRIP
So far this year quite a few of the scene’s more well known groups haven’t really been doing…well, much of anything I suppose but for the purposes of this website we’ll go with “putting out new music”. The reasons for this are of course quite apparent but now that we’re into the latter half of 2020 it seems like more and more are either sadly falling apart or, in increasingly larger numbers, trying to salvage something from what has been a very trying year.
Shihatsumachi Underground likely need very little introduction at this point seeing as they’re a bit of a cult favorite in the foreign Idol fandom. I’m still not really sure why that is if I’m honest, though that’s probably also part of the reason why I didn’t really get into the group initially myself. One Japan trip and a couple of taibans later and I came around though, and Shihatsumachi Underground came from behind to place very highly in my Top 10 Albums of 2019 ranking. Oh how quickly things can all change.
Speaking of which, I believe this release is Shihatsumachi’s first since said album. “TAKE A TRIP” is a one track digital single, the first in a series of 4 that will be released one at a time over the next 4 months. An increasingly popular tactic and one I expect to see even more now that groups have been practically forced to embrace the internet and digital distribution. I digress though, I’m excited to hear what Shihatsumachi have in store for us both here and over the course of this 4 installment project, so let’s stop wasting time and dive right into it.
Before even pressing play on “TAKE A TRIP” I couldn’t help but note the runtime being quite a bit under the two and a half minute mark. Very atypical of today’s Idol standards but Shihatsumachi Underground don’t tend to drag things out at the best of times either I suppose. We waste no time getting into the instrumental, a piano laden Jazz style composition, that’s giving off a very classy sort of lounge vibe. One thing you can always count on this group for is some pretty slick instrumentation and that remains the case here. The vocals go along with the mood in the room, being delivered in this rich, smooth style with some ear caressing tones as the lyrics are almost whispered through your speakers. Despite the track’s fairly short length, plenty of time is also made to showcase the instrumentals with a mid-song interlude providing a very pleasing guitar solo, accented by a few other little flairs from the other elements of the ensemble. From there we’re back to the previous verse/chorus style for the rest of the track until the guitar and piano take over once again to bring the curtain down on a short but very enjoyable listen. Sometimes less is more folks, they don’t all have to be 5 minute epics.
I suppose your enjoyment of this track is going to hinge largely on your interest/predisposition to liking Jazz, Lounge and other such genres of music. For me this is a home run because there’s so much going into the instrumental that makes it interesting to listen to and the maturity of the vocal performance is the usual high quality that we’ve come to expect from Shihatsumachi Underground at this point. It’s catchy and fun, though perhaps not in the usual way you might think of.
This series of 4 digital releases is off to a great start and I’m looking forward to listening to and writing about the rest of the tracks as and when they are released. Sure I would have preferred to just get an EP or mini-album all in one go but if the other tracks that are coming up are as good as this one then I think I’ll be able to impatiently wait for them. Hard to believe I’d actually end up being this excited for Shihatsumachi Underground or their music but I guess things have a funny way of playing out like that.