Thursday, February 17, 2011

Asobi Seksu - "Fluorescence"

Yuki and James of Asobi Seksu continue to deal out the lushly layered dream-pop on their fourth album Fluorescence out now on Polyvinyl. Although the album artwork is an homage to the 4AD-isms that have become their calling card, the new album shows off a more poppy and brighter side to their music just as colorful as that same artwork and the results are stunning.

The album opens with rumbling drums and glistening synths with washes of thin New Order-like guitars on “Coming Up”, sounding like the soundtrack to an 80’s dream sequence. The first single, “Trails” begins with a stampede of guitars and ends with Yuki’s siren-like vocals soaring above the wreckage. “My Baby” is a coy and playful song of heartache with 60’s inspired keyboard melodies and doo-wop vocals. “Perfectly Crystal” stands out with an upbeat and jangly early 90’s guitar-rock vibe and layers of echoing angelic vocals, while the airy “In My Head” drifts off in a weightless atmosphere with only a church-like organ tethering it back down to earth. “Leave The Drummer Out There” features marching drums and brings their prog-rock tendencies to the fray while also remaining incredibly catchy. Other standouts include “Ocean” with its ebb and flow that perfectly captures its title and “Trance Out”, featuring hypnotic, swirling melodies and chanted vocals that really showcase Yuki’s vocal prowess. The album closes with a hazy and lush atmosphere created by male/female vocals and a wall of guitars and cascading synths on “Pink Light”.

Asobi Seksu may have tried to reign in their sound a bit by not “obsessing over everything” as James describes in the band’s recent press release but there is clearly no harnessing the band’s melodic sensibilities and songwriting skills as Fluorescence impressively proves.


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