Five years after the release of Fantasma, Cornelius' dizzyingly dazzling stateside breakthrough, comes Point, an album as much about focus and precision as its predecessor was about appropriating and reconfiguring sounds and styles into a psychedelic free for all. Keigo Oyamada's fondness for exotica, bossa nova, garage rock, and dream pop also shapes Point, but the effect is more organic and less contrived; bright, strummy guitars, insistent beats, and sweet harmonies loop over and over again until the songs reach their breaking points. Despite the album's heavy reliance on sampling, songs like "Another View Point" and "Smoke" sound surprisingly fresh and spontaneous; the twittering birds on "Bird Watching at Inner Forest" and the burbling, Matmos-like water sample that runs through "Drop" emphasize Point's playfully surreal naturalism. Though the album ranges from sharp, new wave-influenced tracks like "Smoke" to trippy Shibuya-punk like "Fly" to "Nowhere"'s swanky nouveau exotica, it has fewer of the stylistic about-faces that made Fantasma so fascinating. Indeed, on the first few listens Point might disappoint Cornelius fans used to the previous album's quick changes and contrasts, but the restraint and cohesion Oyamada brings to the album make its louder and crazier moments, such as the loopy, static-laden opener "Bug (Electric Last Minute)" and guitar workout "I Hate Hate," that much more distinctive. Though it lacks brilliant singles like "Star Fruits Surf Rider" and "Chapter 8: Seashore and Horizon," Point's mature playfuness won't disappoint Oyamada's fans as long as they continue to expect the unexpected from him.
by Heather Phares