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Shintaro Sakamoto has sacked off his psych-rock pals in Yura Yura Teikoku to offer up something a little different on 'Let's Dance Raw', which offers up his psych guitar styling for a silky smooth funk project. Sakamoto's last solo record was the folksy 'How To Live With a Phantom', but the infectious grooves here are more dressed up, based around his slick chord sequences, well-placed keys and bumpy bass. 

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Let's Dance Raw by Shintaro Sakamoto
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9/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 12 September 2014

Shintaro Sakamoto may not be particularly well known over here but he's already something of a household name in his native Japan thanks to fronting psych-pop phenomenon Yura Yura Teikoku, and this week he drops his second album under his own name. Since his solo debut, Sakamoto bought himself a steel guitar and learned how to play it, with the instrument featuring quite prominently throughout the LP. He also painted the sleeve image which features him sitting with a steel guitar and a skeletal face. You can still tell it's him because his huge great mop of hair is quite distinctive.

'Let's Dance Raw' runs the gamut from breathy Japanese folk to British invasion inspired psych-pop with heavy doses of wibbly Hawaiian-sounding tropicalia and easy listening thanks to all that steel guitar and some hazily shuffling percussion. There are some weird and unsettling experimental touches in places, including some really bizarre vocodered vocals creatingly humorously monstrous (and sometimes chipmonk-like) effects, but soft grooves and simple, catchy melodies are always placed firmly at the fore so the overall effect remains silky and relaxing. Intriguing and exotic psych-pop gems with a laid-back tropical twist.



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