double slit cover
Tracklist
  1. Hushed
  2. 2 A.M.
  3. His Word
  4. Dreadful Moments
  5. Tragedy
  6. Backnbach
  7. I Wanted Life
  8. Confined
  9. In And Out Of Sync
  10. Honeyed Words

It seems like it was just a few months ago that I reviewed Japanese Super Shift’s 47 for ROK, but in fact it was almost exactly a year ago. Huh. Time really does seem to fly by the older I get, the weeks blurring together to the point that the past doesn’t seem so past and the future is running at me full tilt.

Musically Japanese Super Shift feels like a part of the past with their retro-electro-pop stylings, but truth be told no one was ever making music like this back in the 1980s. Sure, Double Slit Album sounds like it belongs to another era, but it’s just the synths that seem to tie it to that particular time, because the Super Shifters are doing their own thing.

The Casio-esque keyboard is the signature element of the Japanese Super Shift sound, working alongside a broader range of electronic sounds and beats. This represents the sort of “go to” formula of Double Slit Album, though it’s when they break free from the formula that they produce their best results. The bongo-like beat of “I Wanted Life” is a refreshing change from the more standard electro-beats, and the Super Shifters use the bongos and a more standard beat at the same time throughout the song in a way that creates a sort of push-pull conflict that seems to want to pull the whole thing in two very different directions. But they manage to keep it on the rails despite themselves, creating a powerful and unique song.

“Tragedy” is the best example of Japanese Super Shift bringing it all together into one neat dark-pop package, with echoed vocals and layered synths that create a nice flow. Though they still don’t let you get entirely comfortable, throwing in a few brief beat timing changes that keep the listener from just purely grooving out. There’s a hint of 1980s Madonna in the opening sequence, but that quickly gives way to something slower and deeper. Honorable mention for the sultry disco of “In and Out of Synch,” a luscious little dance number reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder.

– Jeff Obermeyer

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