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Asobi Seksu, Fluorescence
Polyvinyl Records, Feb. 15

02/17/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



In spite of their complete lack of real-world commercial viability, these New York dream-poppers have made big business out of singer Yuki Chikudate, who has no problem whatsoever dressing up as an anime pinup and draping herself in moonbat poses. They should be a required subject in a Marketing 101, her with her untouchable hotness and James Hanna with his volatile/terrifying/beautiful shoegaze-washout guitar/synth rocket-booster aesthetic — whatever pays the rent at the loft. This fifth album is by far their best, mainly owing to a large number of vocal entries from Hanna, whose vanilla tenor is a welcome break from Chikudate’s airy, half-operatic birdsong, the pretty but amateurish touchstone of the band’s sound. And bonus, Hanna sings on a few muddier-than-normal parts — they’ve never sounded as much like My Bloody Valentine as on “Coming Up.” As usual, the low points (of these very agreeable songs, don’t get me wrong) involve Chikudate, whose nicely hit high notes continue to crash on re-entry — there’s particular flatness on “In My Head.”

B- 

—Eric W. Saeger






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