asobi seksu fluorescence
  • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2011

  • Posted by: Siobhan Fludder

Asobi Seksus fourth full length album release lives up to the strikingly vivid meaning behind its given name: Fluorescence. This New York based pair of Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna have once again entranced their audiences with a shoegaze-driven compilation of tracks that offer a contrasting engagement of dreamlike depth and enthusiastically tempered distortion. This latest installment conveys a strengthened improvement of their admired ability to merge together such a layered blend of distinct sounds, but at times this talent can be consumed by the disorganized affectation.

Nevertheless, the album does tend to follow a certain structure. Each individual track is introduced with an abundance of noisy bursts and is then segmented with sweeping lulls of relief. Songs like "Coming Up", "Trails", and "Trance Out" build with a fun groove that quicken their pace until jumping off the cliff of culmination, sending you falling through a cleaned up adaptation of the song. It's during these melodic moments of clarity that their charm really shines through and the instruments find a more direct connection, such as with "In My Head". Despite the electronically spiced background fuzz of drum beats and guitar riffs that constantly change pace, there is still a calm, dreamlike vibe coating most songs.

Like the album name, the track titles seem to be descriptive portrayals of the songs themselves, all wrapped within the commonality of the dream-theme. "Deep Weird Sleep" does, in fact, sound like the soundtrack to a long and intricate dream. "Perfectly Crystal" is a sharp, cotton candy pop wonder of an edgier, beat-driven daydream, and "Counterglow" is like the after-effect of the preceding tracks, as it reverberates with the entrancement of reverie.

Fluorescences constant eccentricity showcases Asobi Seksu's originality, but the continuous changes in direction threaten to disrupt each track's focus. Despite this clamor that has the tendency to leave lyrics and melody completely indistinguishable, you won't have to wait long until the songs transition into elegant flows of wave after wave of trancelike contemplation. Chikudates whimsical vocals represent the undefined abstraction of shoegazing, and though it is not always easily digested, she still showcases the beauty within her vocal range during the calmer, more distinct moments of lyrical expression. The rhythmic bustle of Fluorescence can be a little bit frustrating to wrap your head around, yet this approach will continue to be observed reverently by Asobi Seksu fans, and will also appeal to a wider audience with the catchier percussion driven pop that flavours this particular album.

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