Fab Fox

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Fujifabric have achieved decent success on the Japanese mainstream scene, but they are actually one of the more unexpected entries in the field, being able to sound right at home at any indie rock gathering. On Fab Fox they offer a bunch of nice songs inhabiting the space between Belle & Sebastian and the Posies -- well, at least most of the tracks are nice, although there is some filler baggage: for instance, "Ame No March" and "Kuchibiru No Sore," which is almost an arcade game or Disney cartoon ditty that was probably an attempt to stir things up but ended up sounding dreadfully out of place. This is actually sort of a Scylla and Charybdis case, because trying to avoid sounding the same, while being a noble quest for any band, makes Fujifabric deviate from their main strength -- the group is at its best with the more serious and faster songs like "Niji" and "Maria to Amazoness" (which may be pretty strange, considering how many Japanese bands try to replace songwriting with speed, but it works here). Thankfully, the good songs thoroughly dominate on the record, making Fab Fox an effective little album that, while hardly astonishing at first, has the power to get the songs firmly stuck in your memory upon subsequent listens.

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