Maturing Steadily

I'm not sure what to say about toe's sophomore release. Utter jubilation in most portions, but a tiny bit of disgust along the way. It's odd really, as what the group tries attempting is the logical step forward. A realization of incorporating new elements like the piano, electronic sequences, or vocals would of sufficed, but all of them? Some troubles surface, but for the majority of the time the improved guitar dynamics, hints of acoustic muddled within and drumming prowess carry this album, as it should, but only better than The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety.

Within a strict context of their debut, The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety is for the most part a free-form almost back-and-forth rhythm between the group; mainly showcasing the superb drumming of Takashi and his band mates Mino Takaaki and Yamazaki Hirokazu good guitar work. Comparing their previous efforts 4 years ago to For Long Tomorrow and you get a supremely more relaxed (if that wasn't already evident), mature group that limits Takashi's burden by spicing up the ferocity and dynamics of their guitar work. This works for the majority of the album, but something lingers and you notice it with the introduction of the vocal work. The vocal work is absolutely uneasy to sit through, while it is limited it's still there. Besides the small, shy female chorus on "After Image" and later the decent "Goodbye" it becomes quite forgettable. More specifically its tedious, unobtrusive and mediocre. Essentially it brings down what heights the album begins to achieve and it almost comes crashing down. While the vocal work was hinted beforehand with their New Sentimentality EP it begs a question to why they would introduce even more of it within this release? It feels uninspired, if not downright ignored by the listener and believe that statement.

This is all coming off a bit harsh, but the truth of the matter is toe have clouded the true or potential greatness that could of been For Long Tomorrow. Thankfully it doesn't detract from the album as a whole and the ordinary male vocals are only a few minutes. There's nothing more clear on this album than to see their guitar work has been put to the forefront. While they don't necessarily overshadow Takashi's work, as that would be highly difficult, but he eventually gets his shining moment in the end with "Long Tomorrow".

Enough of the single negative endeavor toe have managed to go belly-up on, the instrumental portions - latest additions included, are thoughtfully placed and paced. Also the bass by Yamane Satoshi has improved and tends to peak through some tracks like in "Shou***su Ten yo Fue", which adds a sprawling and much needed acoustic guitar in the mix. That clean guitar work on The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety isn't all gone, but fresh instruments do muddy it a bit, a fun addition when you listen to their debut and sophomore efforts back to back. "Esoteric" is the type of patience and maturity that toe have attained since 2005 and Takashi precise drumming is on point throughout the entire song. The channeling guitar work is placed perfectly and it's no wonder a 4 minute song sounds like so much more when it incorporates vague electronic tones in-between sessions of the music.

A much needed boost to their sound, the introduction to the rhodes piano and acoustic guitar add a bit of depth to what felt like a journey in a jam session a few years ago. The purely acoustic "Two Moons" is showcased upon a light vibraphone to add a lovely melancholy melody that picks up steam at times end. A track later "Mosukīton wa Mō Kikoenai #1", toe's first piano driven track, is used to bring a more relaxed feel eventually driving into a memorable outro with its second portion with Takashi finishing the work. Lastly, the track "Last Night" almost sounds like a jazz induced night session, but the entirety of the album is showcased by adding all of the new great sounds toe have put on here. The big thing about For Long Tomorrow is it's what most toe fans want, and they got, but while adding these elements toe have succumbed to some mediocre vocal work that for the most part doesn't belong.

For Long Tomorrow, for the most part is an improved band trying to experiment with what works. While the vocals within "Say It Isn't So" don't flesh out as they would of expected; the new introduction of sounds eventually shine through with "Last Night" and the jazzy "Our Next Movement" is altogether surprising, if not done very well. Toe have grown as well or at least branching out and that's what this album is about. For Long Tomorrow will probably become for Toe - a learning experience.

Grade: B+


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