Fujiya & Miyagi

Transparent Things

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Fujiya & Miyagi draw from influences like Neu! and Talking Heads to create warm, looping guitar riff-driven organic dance music that fits nicely next to other mid-2000s alternative dance bands like the Teddybears, Hot Chip, and even LCD Soundsystem. Live guitars and keyboards layer over funky basslines and mechanized drums, while Best whisper-sings about, among other things, broken bones, feeling OK, star signs, and "just pretending to be Japanese." Six of the tracks on Transparent Things, their debut full-length, had previously appeared as vinyl 10"s, but here, redone and with the addition of three new songs (and a U.S. bonus cut, "Reeboks in Heaven"), the album gives more listeners the chance to hear what the Brighton, England-based band is capable of. Mostly, this means happily quirky but accessible pieces with plenty of syncopated rhythms, elongated syllables, and trilled Rs, courtesy of Best's cordially sexy voice. The first three tracks, "Ankle Injuries," "Collarbone," and "Photocopier," are all bright and upbeat and thoroughly catchy, and probably the strongest pieces on the album, some in part because Fujiya & Miyagi's aforementioned formula isn't as noticeable then as it is later. Not that Transparent Things is too samey or predictable, because it's not. The group has found something that works and does it well, with consistently enjoyable results, so much so that songs on which they break away from that, the lighter, indie rock-esque "Cylinders," for example, are more distracting than anything else. But when F&M stick to simple dance melodies and wound-up instrumental grooves, they're as good as anyone else out there.

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