The two women in the Japanese pop group Puffy, Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimua, have been together since 1995, and in the seven years covered by this compilation, they have built an impressive body of work. Puffy is pretty close to the perfect pop band. Ami and Yumi are incredibly cute; they have a perky, happy image, and the music is ultra hooky and borrows from all the right places. A partial list of influences includes Motown, bossa nova, power pop, Stonsey boogie, teen pop, punk, rockabilly, bubblegum, and glam. They blend all this amazing stuff together, throw their girlish and sweet voices on top, and come up with perfect pop. An Illustrated History has tracks from the band's three biggest records: six from Jet, four from Fever*Fever, and two from their only record previously released in America, Spike, plus a couple of single tracks and a remix. For the Puffy collector, the exciting extra here is an unreleased version of "True Asia," the group's first big hit in Japan. For the non-collector or neophyte, the excitement comes from how much fun you will have listening to songs like "Love So Pure" (which is written by former Jellyfish member Andy Sturmer, who is Puffy's "Godfather" and frequent collaborator) or "Talalan." You'll want to learn Japanese just so you can sing along. Did you get the part about how Puffy is perfect pop? Just checking. If you have any interest at all in music that makes you grin like an idiot while you skip down the sidewalk, kissing babies, and giving high fives to all your friends, you owe it to yourself to get An Illustrated History.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra