Le Petit Trou
The first widely released album by Koji Shibuya’s yumbo, after a few CD-Rs and a compilation set shared with Tori Kudo and Kinutapan, Le Petit Trou is a gorgeous, hermetic set of pop songs. You can hear Shibuya’s complex of influences here – the sultry sway of bossa nova and samba; the lop-sided creativity of such arch songwriters and conceptualists as Kudo, and Mayo Thompson – but there’s plenty of space for Shibuya to articulate his own writerly voice, which consists of an understated yet seductive melodicism that’s placed in idiosyncratic settings: spring-loaded ukulele twang; guitar, glockenspiel and brass arrangements that sway with the playfulness of chindon’ya (Japanese marching band) performers; blunt rushes of electric guitar, doling out the simplest three chord mantras. There’s something very effective in the way Shibuya sets contrasting voices in opposition throughout Le Petit Trou, aiming for a fragile unison.
– Jon Dale