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Asobi Seksu (2006), Indie Rock

Welcome to the world of “sex for fun”, a rough translation of “Asobi Seksu”. Here we reside in an audio air of silky smooth vocals, occasional distorted guitar, and frequent bouncy pop beats. Yuki Chikudate’s tranquil voice instantly emerges as the key standout and gently carries us through the project. Citrus is a pleasant realm to enter and explore. There is talent here.

The album gets off to a roaring beginning; the first three songs are sublime and draw you in quickly. One of the first handful of tracks would make a great opening for a mix. As you progress through the beginning of the album, excitement builds: “Wow, will the whole album sound this good?” Unfortunately, some disappointment follows, as the second half cannot match the quality first half originally sparked. While the sound does start to lose its buzz starting from “Red Sea”, there is enough strong material to warrant a repeat listening.

The influence of My Bloody Valentine is present, but not heavy. Asobi Seksu is not proper “shoegazer” rock, but rather a serene blend of said genre and power pop. You can hear hints of The New Pornographers in “Goodbye”. Comparisons to the Sophia Coppola compilation for the Lost In Translation Soundtrack (Which MBV frontman Kevin Shields also had a hand in making) are legitimate as well. Citrus creates a mood of estranged, contained anxiety while maintaining a playful attitude at the same time. The trouble with Citrus is that while it is a unique sound, it can downgrade into background music at times and songs occasionally sound repetitive. What we have here is half of a brilliant magnum opus. It’s half genius, half filler.

vincent chen