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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Asobi Seksu -- Hush


Asobi Seksu change things up again on their third outing, Hush. Guitarist, James Hanna, strips away a lot of the waves of distortion cloaking his guitars and focuses more on delay and reverb. Meanwhile, Yuki Chikudate's keyboard moves to the forefront. The band shoots for more of a dreamy, almost lazy feeling, and while this is quite lovely in each individual song, the album as a whole is a bit much to take in one sitting. I was more apt to dismiss Hush on the first few listens, but I later found myself humming songs from it and realized that almost every one on this album is good. The constant hum of the keyboard and the more droning guitar tones just make them lump together in one 45-minute sitting. There are still explosions of noise so to speak, but even they are of a more subdued nature. Take the outburst at 3:07 on "Meh No Mae."

The keyboard is the most dominant instrument, most of the guitar layers are washed in effects rather than distortion, and the drums are more tom-focused than cymbal. Contrast that with the raw guitar and crashing cymbals at the denouement of the track I posted in yesterday's review of Citrus. It's good but drastically different, and it's a great picture of what you are getting with Hush.
Asobi Seksu should be applauded for tinkering and experimenting with their sound, even if it doesn't quite bring the explosive results they've been known for in the past. If they had varied the sound a bit more, Hush could have at least been as enjoyable as Asobi Seksu's self-titled debut. As it stands, Hush is a good album in chunks and quite a grower, but not the best place for those first wading into Asobi Seksu's vast ocean of sound to start.

2009 Polyvinyl
1. Layers 4:00
2. Familiar Light 3:22
3. Sing Tomorrow's Praise 3:34
4. Gliss Chikudate, Hanna 4:03
5. Transparence 3:48
6. Risky and Pretty 0:44
7. In the Sky 3:40
8. Meh No Mae 4:03
9. Glacially 4:18
10. I Can't See 4:17
11. Me & Mary 3:07
12. Blind Little Rain 4:34

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