Shinobi, “Last I Heard” (Self-Released, 2017)

Just three months after releasing their excellent Tape No. 1 demo, Shinobi has slipped another new track up on Bandcamp—this time loaded with big, open, Oasis-like chords and fuzzy lead melodies; plus some interesting creative flourishes scattered throughout.

Those thick chord phrasings and mangled hammer-on/pull-off runs of that main riff are just so fucking cool, and the band is really mastering these sleeper hit choruses where the hooks are evident, but you don't realize just how damn catchy they are until 10 minutes later when you're still humming the tune. I'm really diggin' the backing vocals as well.

Slightly rawer production this time out—arguably more demo-like than their demo—so it's a little bit thin to my ears. Guitars are (perhaps rightfully) running the show, but there's some really strong drumming that feels slightly too distant and might benefit from more oomph. I'd love to hear the bass move more toward the core of the mix, too. Just my two cents, but still, these mild hiccups in no way hinder the group's phenomenal songwriting.

I'm telling you, I just know these kids are really onto something. I'd totally love to see Shinobi land on a nice split 7" with another interesting set of up-and-comers. Time will tell, I suppose...