SUKISHA - Beside Your Bedside

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Leaving the dance floor and junk food behind, mercurial singer-trackmaker Hiroyuki Ikezawa AKA SUKISHA has decided to deploy his multi-instrumental talents right “Beside Your Bedside,” the title of his latest EP. And given his amazing songwriting ability, he sounds like he truly belongs there permanently, just next to your reading glasses and alarm clock.

Evidenced by his previous EPs and tracks released to date, this guy has a mastery of instruments, production techniques and grooves, capable of almost anything from rock, pop and ska to R&B, disco, funk and soul, but this time around, SUKISHA has effectively made a proper singer-songwriter album, dialing down his sometimes nonsensical or outlandish tendencies to sing about everyday life – wandering under the moonlight, bicycles, making salad. This is a path well worn, but for most singer-songwriters, this is their everything. In SUKISHA’s case, it’s just another avenue to explore, and further proof of his musical skills.

On “Beside Your Bedside,” the tracks here take a much more leisurely pace than what we are used to, with acoustic guitars, organic bass sounds, brushes on the drums. What sets this apart from the rest are SUKISHA’s creative melodies, both in his singing and his meandering organ solos which appear on almost every track, and his sense of groove, which he shows flashes of on “帰路と喧騒” and “不確かな夜” to keep things interesting. As mentioned above, it’s a good fit, as his voice is more like Hoshino Gen than a typical soul/R&B singer, and it sounds so friendly like on “TASTY” or “おうちに帰ろう” it naturally feels like you’re engaged in domestic conversation – “making salad is such an effort isn’t it,” “time to pick up the sleepy kids and go home.” The whole EP is really tight, you can pipe this through the speakers next to your bed at any time of the day – a lazy morning, while you’re folding clothes or reading books, late at night when you’re winding down or pondering something. There aren’t any melodramatic love songs, and it’s never boring. SUKISHA states his songs are “for all people who love music,” and it’s extremely well crafted – on this EP he’s done all the writing, singing, arrangement, playing, programming, recording and mastering himself (the cover art is the only thing outsourced).

On the final track “Ending Massage,” he thanks you for listening and asks you to subscribe to his social media accounts in a vocoded voice, but he always triggers a sample when he says his name SUKISHA. It’s a weird, irreverent touch, and makes you wonder if this was all an epic troll to show off – after all, this is a guy who prides himself on being a NEET, and writes songs about egg and natto on rice and street racing hooligans. Or maybe he feels he still has something to prove, as he is yet to experience major chart success (probably due to his odd/withdrawn personality, not a lack of talent). But if there’s anyone in the music world who can actually accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it, it’s SUKISHA. Stay tuned.

Royce Leong