Puffy AmiYumi


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Yumi Yoshimura and Ami Onuki, the savvy entrepreneurs behind the Japanese girl pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, return with Spike, their fourth full-length collection of new material and their first under a shiny new moniker. (The artists, formerly known only as Puffy, were legally blindsided and robbed of their six-year-old stage name by Sean "Puffy" Combs -- aka Puff Daddy, aka P-Diddy -- who apparently didn't think the world was big enough for two Puffys. (Rumors that he will take out a copyright on the letter "P" could not be confirmed at press time.) Like 1999's Fever*Fever, Spike is an ultra-cute, polished piece of work that draws heavily on the duo's Western influences, from Brian Setzer and Brian Wilson to the Go-Go's and the Ramones. "Boogie Woogie No. 5" is a competent stab at big-band rockabilly, complete with jazz guitars and a rollicking horn section; "Shut Your Mouth, Honey" is an infectious bit of retro power pop that's eerily reminiscent of the Brady Bunch's "Keep On"; and "Sui Sui" sounds like an inspired hybrid of Shonen Knife and the Beach Boys. Indeed, Spike is a mixed bag of musical styles, with Yoshimura and Onuki showing off their diverse talents on each track. The result is pure joy, the kind of hook-driven pop that will surely win them a solid fan base in America.

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