Fujiya & Miyagi

Flashback

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The seventh album from alternative dance act Fujiya & Miyagi, Flashback arrives during their 20th year as a band behind founders David Best and Steve Lewis. With a title that nods to inspirations from their outer-London suburban youth, including '80s breakdancing and electro, the seven-song outing sees them refine their mix of murmured Krautrock, funk, and post-punk across a record that seems to settle into a continuous groove, at least until the final track. The elegant "Flashback" gets things started with pulsing bass and electronic drums that drop out on a vocalized "Freeze." Later, the song picks up hooky guitar and keyboard riffs on the half-whispered lyrics "Like a rubber band/Rattlin' around/Your eardrums/It snaps back." Even when addressing contemporary anxieties on tracks like "Personal Space" and "Fear of Missing Out," syncopated rhythms make it impossible to sit still. With a chorus that repeats "Get up outta my face/You're invading my personal space," singing along is also encouraged. Still maintaining steady 4/4 time, the darker "Subliminal" opens with whispered French and a funky disco bass line over the album's consistent clap-along snare tones. Voices and whispers are mixed in multiple channels as Best asks "What's that sound? Is it just your mind playing tricks on you?" The funkiness hits its peak on the penultimate track, "Dying Swan Act," whose hints of Tom Tom Club remain at a controlled simmer, never quite letting loose, but never killing the mirror-ball vibe that they establish from the opening seconds. Flashback closes on the more experimental, over-seven-minute "Gammon," which picks up the tempo and allows for full, live drum kit. It's a giddy ending to a paranoid set that's nonetheless cathartic and dependably fun.

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