Asobi Seksu


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Asobi Seksu are part of the contingent of bands who refuse to let shoegazing die. There are enough guitar effects on Citrus to make Kevin Shields proud and enough reverb and echo on the vocals to make Rachel Goswell blush. Asobi Seksu make judicious use of loud-soft dynamics, aren't afraid to disappear into great walls of guitar noise, and most importantly, they write very good, adventurous, and memorable pop songs. On song after song they throw hook after hook at the listener, vocal melodies, guitar lines, basslines, atmospheres -- everything here is a hook that draws you into the band's cocoon of sound. Singer Yuki has a very malleable voice; one minute she is whispering girlishly, the next she is spreading her wings and coasting on a cloud of guitars. Guitarist James Hanna is very adept at over-dubbing, he turns himself into a swirling, marauding army of guitars that never overwhelms the tunes and always provides perfect accompaniment to the vocals. As the record plays you'll think of Moose (especially on "Strawberries" and "Strings") you'll think of buzz pop bands like the Primitives ("Thursday," "Goodbye"), maybe some Ride ("Lions and Tigers"), definitely My Bloody Valentine (just about everywhere!). When the record ends you'll think that this is a damn good record by a damn good band, and who cares if you can hear their influences so transparently? There is no shame in keeping a sound alive, especially if you invest it with energy, new ideas, and some soul. It also helps if you bring songs that are as good as those that the originators had. Asobi Seksu have done just that and Citrus is as good a shoegaze record you will ever hear, regardless of release date.

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