Shibuya Crossings – DOYA (Depend On Your Alter-Ego) Released through Typically Magic Records June 13th
aaamusic | On 14, Apr 2011
Sometimes it’s hard to know what genre a band fits into or what criteria to use to make such a decision. What exactly defines Alt or Indie, Rock, Indie Rock or Indie Pop for that matter? Shibuya Crossings opt to forget about all this and just make music that feels right and it’s a hell of a refreshing choice to have made. Formed in ’06, Shibuya Crossings sound like a band unconcerned with the trivialities of the more fashionable end of the indie spectrum.
Depend On Your Alter Ego (or DOYA for short) is a sophomore album that ebbs and flows like the Thames that runs through Shibuya Crossings’ native London. From the concise, effortless indie-cool of opener (and current single) At Eight In A Spanish Bar, past the gloriously sun-kissed riff party If It Isn’t Getting Betterright up to the genuinely affecting climax A Wonder Inside the trio marshal exactly what it feels like to be a twenty-something in the big city.
From trips to Stockholm’s Old Town with bottles of stolen wine (The Vaseline’s inspired “Gamla Stan”), awkward, awful, nose-diving first-dates (“At Eight In A Spanish Bar”) to heart-wrenchingly honest meditations on urban loneliness (“A Wonder Inside”) Shibuya Crossings’ second album Depend On Your Alter Ego (DOYA for short) would appear to consist in the main of urbane, elliptical narratives wrapped in concise, savvy indie rock. Yet to stop there would be to miss the intriguing duality of Shibuya Crossings. It’seffortless Pavement-esque idiosyncratic indie rock with an apparent lyrical simplicity that still beguiles and hints at the darker, almost tragic conflict in the human heart.
As much pieced together in anger and protest as it is by all things heartfelt, this alt rock animal is full of nods to the likes of Sparklehorse, Hefner, Teenage Fanclub, and even the art-school fringe-swinging of Blur.
A literal translation of “Shibuya” is “Bitter Valley” and the poeticism of crossing a bitter valley captures the ideas in DOYA perfectly. If the grass is always greener wherever we’re not, let’s at least enjoy the crossing.