Asobi Seksu – Hush Asobi Seksu – Hush

asobi seksu hush album art

Asobi seksu - Hush

With “Hush” Brooklyn Dream Pop revivalists, Asobi Seksu, try to recapture the craft and power of 2006’s “Citrus”. “Citrus” was an entry-level dream pop album for me – easily swallowed by a listener who is not accustomed to the pink noise of My Bloody Valentine or the Cocteau Twins, but teeming with enough swirling synth lines and haunting vocals to prepare the listener for the road ahead. Yuki Chikudate’s unique mezzo-soprano and ethereal synth parts are still present but “Hush” lacks the sharp uniqueness that made me love “Citrus”.

Asobi Seksu is down to two static member now, Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna, with friends William Pavone and Larry Gorman filling in on bass and drums respectively. The fill ins do an excellent job and consistently show a great sense for how to move Chikudate and Hanna’s songs forward. The rhythm section steals the show on “Gliss” with Gorman’s tom rolls and Pavone’s bass line making the bridge of the song the heaviest and grooviest part of the album. Hanna’s guitar work is the most enjoyable on songs like the album’s opener “Layers” where he channels Johnny Greenwood via “Subterranean Homesick Alien” during the intro, or in the reverb-soaked bridge of “Familiar Light”, and the rest of the album has a very good shoegaze style guitar sound a la Soulvaki that exemplifies Hanna’s knowledge of the style he creates in.

Yuki’s voice is dynamic and powerful. She is obviously comfortable all over the upper registers. During the verses her voice has no difficulty finding it’s way through the sound of all the instruments and during some of the longer instrumental parts her wordless vocal melodies wrap themselves around the synth lines. On songs like

Mehnomae, Yuki uses Japanese lyrics and maybe that is for the better because with lines like “I stare at the ceiling to regain some feeling” at the beginning of “Familiar Light” I would prefer not to know what the lyrics mean.

Like “Citrus” was, “Hush” is a good Dream Pop album with pretty textures and some very good songs, but “Hush” is not a 2009 album. “Hush could have come out as the bonus disc to either of Asobi Seksu’s previous albums, not much has changed stylistically since the band’s debut, but the musical landscape sure has. School of Seven Bells released a very underrated album in 2008 and went on a very successful tour with Blonde Redhead, and Deerhunter and A Place to Bury Strangers sell out shows across the country. Bands who wear their Dream Pop and Shoegaze influences on their sleeves are coming out of the woodwork lately and Asobi Seksu is doing little to distinguish themselves from the crowd. “Hush” is a pretty good album with some interesting Dream Pop musicianship, but it lacks the sharpness and uniqueness that will make it be remembered in a few months.

Asobi Seksu - Hush, reviewed by mcelroy on 2009-03-05T01:08:34-08:00 rating 3.2 out of 5

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