Published on July 19th, 2012 | by greg0
Shintaro Sakamoto: How To Live With A Phantom:: Review
From the ashes come many things and if you’re Shintaro Sakamoto of Yura Yura Teikoku fame, those things are somewhat odd. Sakamoto appears three years after the demise of his main gig, Yura Yura Teikoku, with the challenging yacht rock of his solo effort How To Live With A Phantom. How To Live With A Phantom finds Sakamoto playing all of the instruments save for percussion and woodwinds and in turn resurrects the golden sounds of 1970′s radio albeit from a world perspective. How To Live With A Phantom doesn’t just inhabit the spaces of the former as Sakamoto has built songs around his bass grooves that he learned to play particularly for these sessions. The majority of tracks are densely layered with vintage synths and dreamily played guitars topped off by female harmonies that complement Sakamoto’s languid vocals.
It would be a disservice to continually reference Yura Yura Teikoku as How To Live With A Phantom finds that Sakamoto is playing music on his terms. How To Live With A Phantom idly begins with “In A Phantom Mood,” a song as coy as it’s title that features some of the slickest guitar lines that Sakamoto has conjured. “You Just Decided” is a meditative piece that features a wayward saxophone and jazzy timbre. How To Live With A Phantom is an album of juxtapositions as funk workout “Mask on Mask” sveltly arrives and makes its way next to the damaged, water-pipe fueled doobie-dos of “A Stick and Slacks.”
The masterful “Something’s Different” features a beautiful flute accompaniment that highlights the somber nature of the song. The title track of How To Live With A Phantom follows down the path initiated by “Something Different” as a lonely harmonica guides the way. Sakamoto doesn’t linger long in this direction as the curious “Small But Enough” changes direction as Sakamoto heads towards the door with a nod and a wink. How To Live With A Phantom is an intriguing album that offers a new direction for Sakamoto, one he might divert from at any moment, but a new direction, nonetheless.