As its title suggests, No Better Time Than Now came at a time of great personal change for Saginaw, amidst a hectic touring schedule, a move back home and the end of a long relationship. The album also feels like a big change for Shigeto as a project, but a resolute and hopeful one, taking in his turmoil and making the most out of it. On tracks like "Ringleader," the rhythms are more assertive and, crucially, more drawn out. Rather than looping a single hip-hop beat and making a song around it, these tracks luxuriate in the space they have to resonate and grow.
This is a more interesting method of composition for Saginaw. Where much of his previous work sat idly, now his music carries searing emotion. This is especially obvious on the title track, which drapes a wheezing synth over a turbulent but perfectly poised drum track that conveys eerie calm in the midst of a storm. "Miss U" is a reflective lullaby that hits a decadent sweet spot inspired by late '70s funk.
Saginaw's textures are gorgeous, too. With this spacious songwriting comes a more natural ambience, as if the songs were recorded live in a room rather than multi-tracked in a computer. On "Soul Searching," for instance, the piercing twang of strings is a wonderful counterpart to the reverberating rhodes, and throughout the album his drums are beautifully mixed with their surroundings. Surely Saginaw's most confident work yet, No Better Time Than Now shows a young artist maturing with the grace of a seasoned musician.