Pour me a bourbon, I’m in a dystopian noir future with monsters under my bed and in my head, questionable gravity and cold war paranoia. Ah well, leastways I still look good in a trilby. Ah well, better review a new album that just so happens to be about all of these things, the debut album from Shijo X.
Bologna by Night is full of the smoky jazz stylings and triphop of Portishead, whilst being a low key noir about a woman who doesn’t want to get out of bed claiming “I’m not sad, not blue, not mad/I just want to lay on my bed,” but everything she says in the song contradicts this verse when she sings of her apathy and ennui. The character even has ennui about people telling her to “Do something” to get out of her funk, so she says “So, I’ll make you happy/I’ll turn on TV...” an act of bored rebellion that can’t help but make you crack a wry grin.
Bad Bed, six tracks on is a trippy, treatise on the villains and monsters that dwell underneath our beds and in the inky darkness of our subconscious mind, skilfully mixing in samples of music boxes and warping Laura Sinigaglia’s vocals into something swirling and menacing to evoke the feeling of being trapped in the nightmare of your own ruinous imagination.
Uptown Bike is reminiscent of what would happen if Olive was mixed in with the original Doctor Who theme by Delia Derbyshire, with heavy synths building up to a crescendo, mimicking the frantic pedalling of the bike in the song, out of control and onwards to an inexorable fate.
In (The) Moscow is about drunken disorientation and translocation in a different country, a country completely alien to the character in the song: “Why is not working gravity?/Why that big bright sun is green?” Feeling drunk isn’t too dissimilar a feeling of disorientation as being in a foreign country for the first time, with no idea how to speak the language and desperately trying to acclimate to the situation whilst having no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Shijo X has delivered a promising debut, experimental yet you can dance to it, polished but not overproduced. This is an album to dance to in a darkened room with wild abandon, it is worth your time and your ears.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.