Pizzicato Five

Playboy & Playgirl

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AllMusic Review by

Playboy & Playgirl begins with the kind of collage-heavy imagined soundtrack that marked Happy End of the World; with that out of the way, they get back to the inspired, eclectic popcraft that is their strength. Hookier and more danceable than their previous album, this is a welcome return to songwriting for the dynamic duo. Think Burt Bacharach without the self-pity, with a smidgen of Motown and Stax. Keyboard timbres run the gamut of the Pizzicato imagination from faux-harpsichord to spacy funk. Singer Nomiya Maki puts her unpretentious stamp over everything from Sgt. Pepper's pomp to '60s R&B horns to symphonic dancefloor beats to introspective pastorals. While P5 may be in with the lounge crowd, they never feel superior to their cheesy predecessors; avoiding the sometimes smug, reactionary irony of the new exotica, Yasuharu Konishi's diverse influences are held together by his all-embracing love of the pop spectrum. A joyous record. [Note: Playboy & Playgirl was released in Japan in 1998 under the title The International Playboy & Playgirl Record; Matador's 1999 American release cuts the third track, "International Pizzicato Five Mansion," and substitutes "La Règle du Jeu" later in the album's running order.]

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