Fujiya & Miyagi

Fujiya & Miyagi

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Fujiya & Miyagi is the self-titled sixth LP from the band still led by founders and Krautrock/post-punk aficionados David Best and Steve Lewis. In a slow reveal, the album's tracks were released piecemeal as three EPs (titled EP1, EP2, and EP3), with the first two arriving in the spring and fall of 2016 and the final installment sharing its release day with the full, completely resequenced album. Best and Lewis are joined on the full set by the rhythm section of Ben Adamo and Ed Chivers, marking their debut as members of the group. They stick with the outfit's recognizable sound and affinity for wordplay here while seeming to move a bit later into the club rotation with a pulsing, insistent energy that makes the whole album more infectious. Best has explained that they were trying to capture the flow of their live shows on the album, and they do seem reinvigorated, not that they ever seemed to be waning. Written and recorded before certain political elections that took place before its release, Fujiya & Miyagi is uninformed by related anxieties ("upon completion, the world went a bit mental"), instead offering deadpan wryness and dance-insistent grooves that, in context, have an unintended escapist overtone. Featuring songs like "Serotonin Rushes" ("I can't get you out of my system/I can't get it out of my system") and "Outstripping (The Speed of Light)" ("Does your day bleed into your night?"), the album concerns itself with targets of affection, moving feet, and occasional ennui. Thoughts are delivered by Best's conversational half-whisper over a synth and guitar palette reminiscent of Brotherhood-era New Order and just as engaging, but with a twist of contemporary effects, as well as a dash of disco, Kraftwerk, and more. A dance tune with a spoken chorus of "You'll get a repetitive strain injury," album closer "R.S.I." sums up the album's spirit, rhyming slop, flop, and prop over a skittering snare, funky guitar, and melodic bassline. With a full set that rivals their best songs to date without significant reinvention, it's a must for fans and great place to start for the uninitiated.

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