Perfume

Game

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    4
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That Perfume are not like other Japanese manufactured idol groups is evident from the trio's popularity among not only traditional pop fans but also large numbers of indie and electronic music fans. One of the most striking points about Game, the group's debut album (not including 2006's Complete Best compilation) and certainly their first since becoming bona fide stars, is the tightrope it walks between the varying tastes of their diverse fan base. Within the first four tracks, they serve up hit single "Polyrhythm," directly referencing Daft Punk's "One More Time" in the process; the cheap, cheerful, retro techno-pop of "Plastic Smile"; the harsh, jagged synths of the electro-tinged title track; and the comparatively inoffensive and characterless J-pop of "Baby Cruising Love." It's not perfect, and at 55 minutes Game is far too long for a simple pop album, with ideas starting to repeat themselves as you get into the second half of the album. There are also a number of occasions where the production completely overwhelms the sometimes flimsy melodies on offer, and it's hard to escape the impression that producer Nakata Yasutaka's attitude to the three members' vocal contributions is basically one of damage limitation. Nevertheless, for the most part Game is successful in the way it navigates its various genres and influences, largely thanks to the deft touch and glossy sheen of Nakata's production. Vocoders and synths abound and the album maintains a coolness and detachment that sets it apart from Perfume's usually irrepressibly cheerful contemporaries in the Japanese pop idol scene.

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