I have had this album for over two months now, and love it. It merits a good review.
Asobi Seksu (Japanese for “playful sex”) are a female fronted Shoegaze/Dreampop band from New York, led by japanese singer, Yuki, and guitarist, James.
I’ll start of by saying that this was the perfect time to discover this album, this is definitely music for the spring and summer months.
In recent years, the shoegaze music genre has gained new popularity, and with that, a new string of acts. Asobi Seksu are definitely one of the high and outstanding bands.
The album overall has a crisp, sunny feel. Yuki’s voice being the sun in your eyes, and Jame’s guitars being the warmth in your hair. It is mostly fast paced,though not in a repetitive way, this album has a great diversity in tempo. Yuki’s voice swings and sways through both japanese and english vocals seemlessly, her vocal melodies are bouncy and sweet. She has a talent for vocal range, and it can have more of a pop sound at times, or it can have a lighthearted, ethereal thrum.
The lyrics themselves seem exploratory and diverse, which reach an emotional peak on “Thursday” bittersweet lyrics about remembrance and longing in a detached mannerism… kind of cure-ish in it’s context.
“With sharpened tongue
I cried out for you
And must I refrain
Now that I need you
The autumn wind feels
As if it were you
And swayed through the fields
Where I once held you”
Mixing subtle and symbolic imagery with a hefty feeling of nostalgia. Her voice could be compared to that of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays at times, but mostly it has no comparison. Very fresh.
The guitars frequently morph between a misty, skyward shimmer and a sunny, crisp jangle even branching the a hazy drone much reminiscent to My Bloody Valentine or Flying Saucer Attack(I think they hate being compared to MBV, it is a little redundant but…they did happen to pull off that sound a good few times in this album) in the song “Pink Cloud Tracing Paper”. The rhythm is also different than a lot of dreamgaze these days. It spurs along, almost aglow, rather than a harsh wall of noise, it is like a winding trail, leading you through the songs and into the atmosphere like a curious child.
Notable tracks are few, since the album is devoid of “dud” songs and keeps the listener’s attention from beginning to end.
But there are a few blissworthy moments. “Red Sea” begins with a chaotic effectual followed by a lush, atmospheric melody that takes your breath away…then Yuki comes in over drenched melodies with a high note worthy of sunrise itself.
“Pink Cloud Tracing Paper” is a very strong song, filled with staticky shoegaze haze, and male vocals. With a droning guitar melody tastefully applied to an ethereal swell.
Also, the single “Strawberries” appears on this album. A very good introductory track. Fast paced, with lyrics bordering on the fantastical.
Overall, magnificent. Brings images of sunny fields under buglit sunset to mind. I will be listening to this a lot this summer.
“Thursday” music video
Give them a listen!