Ninja Pants staff newcomer Christina (“call me Tina”) Kang joins us to conclude our coverage of Asobi Seksu’s latest release.

Asobi Seksu, Citrus (2006), Indie Rock

Asobi Seksu (translated to “playful sex,”) debuted in 2004 and is comprised of 4 different members: Yuki (keyboard and lead vocals); James Hanna (Guitar and vocals); Haji (bass); and Mitch Spivak (drums).

Their newest compilation, Citrus, is their latest attempt to immerse the world into their music. Citrus is a potpourri of misty ambient vocals and solid rhythmic section that create a unique sense of serenity. Asobi Seksu creates a dreamscape of transcendent melodies that refresh and invigorate the senses. Yuki’s fluttering falsetto and sensual alto as well as the marriage of elegant guitar rifts, invigorating beats provided by the bass, and fresh keyboard/synthesizer play create a wonderful sound drenched in the warmth of rich sun beams, snow white sand and clear blue waters. Upon listening to this album, I was constantly confronted by a sense of familiarity, as if I had listened to this album before. The sound although unique, seems to be influenced by various artists of different decades – particularly the Cranberries.

Asobi Seksu’s music creates a general feeling of dreamy weightlessness akin to that of sleep. The album is artfully crafted with beautiful melodies and enrapturing voices that evoke imagery of luscious paradise hiatuses and blissful sun-drenched memories experienced long ago. The band presents various songs sung in both English and Japanese. However, the lyrics themselves are difficult to decipher and become obscured by the overall sound – I guess you could say there is a slight similarity of the quality and characteristics of Yuki’s sound to be comparable to the musical stylings of Bjork. However, my personal opinion of this album is that the actual lyrics are not important to the power and passion of the album. Yuki’s voice and not the specific lyrics draw out the sensuality and beauty of the music. So not being able to understand the lyrics doesn’t pose a particularly big problem.

The only rant that I have about this album is the amateurish sound of the harmonies created by James Hanna and Yuki. Hanna’s attempts to accompany Yuki’s voice overpower the delicate vocals of Yuki, not to mention are sometimes off key.

Overall, I enjoyed this album on an individual and very personal level. However, I recommend this album to those of you who are inclined to enjoy and appreciate the serenity and beauty of lounge music as well as those of you who are prone to bouts of daydreaming, considering selections for the soundtrack of your life, or those of you that are likely to indulge in music as a means of expressing and experiencing the chaotic cluster of feelings and thoughts in your head. If you are looking for something you can sing along to the next time you go to the nearest karaoke this is not for you. Although Citrus gives the audience a wondrous variety of delicious sound it is not particularly singular in its efforts to draw a crowd and may be inclined to being lost in your already bursting collection of music within weeks or even days.

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