First Look: Asobi Seksu – “Hush”

Photo by David Greenwald

It’s been a bad couple of decades for shoegaze, perhaps because My Bloody Valentine nailed the genre to the wall in 1991 but more likely since most bands have seemed fearful to leave the House that Shields Built — and abandoned. Asobi Seksu‘s 2006 album, Citrus, was a fine enough addition to the genre, but tracks such as the pitch-shifting “Pink Cloud Tracing Paper” didn’t exactly break new ground for glide guitar. Hush puts a better foot forward, a foot in a different direction. The fat of the band’s usual guitar layer cake is off the table, leaving singer Yuki Chikudate’s sugared croon to take center stage. She’s never sounded sweeter, and neither have her bandmates, who churn out still-gooey ’80s-leaning pop on tracks such as “Gliss” and the wide-smiling “Transparence.” The lyrics are intelligible; the hooks cut deep; the guitars chime and reverberate instead of chug and belch; and Asobi Seksu, for one, sounds ready to get out of the house.

Asobi Seksu – “Familiar Light”: mp3

(Hush is out now on Polyvinyl)

Previously: Live: Asobi Seksu at the Troubadour, 11.10.06


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