SHINOBU / ALBERT SQUARE, THE:
Shinobu has always confused me. I’ve seen them play multiple times, I own many of their records, and they still manage to defy any kind of rock-solid description. It’d be a disservice to simply call them “indie rock” and be done with it—they’re too smart, too literate, and at times, way too catchy. And to call them a pop band wouldn’t work either—their stuff can be downright challenging sometimes, bordering on dissonant as hell. The two songs here—one a dense, brooding number and one a stumbling, charmingly awkward ode to getting fucked up—aren’t their best work, but they’re still good and manage to add yet another facet to the indefinable quality of the band. The Albert Square, on the other hand, almost sounds like a power pop band, similar to Role Models or a streamlined, bare-bones Tranzmitors if they were a three piece. Their two songs are great, brimming with confidence and, like Shinobu, showcasing a vocabulary that rivals Greg Graffin. Having never heard of ‘em before, they came as a hell of a pleasant surprise. Damn nice split, you guys.
–Keith Rosson (Phat N Phunky)