Asobi Seksu Hush(Polyvinyl / One Little Indian) Buy it from Insound
Even though Asobi Seksu is a highly unlikely Japanese name (it means ‘casual sex’, after all) early reviews of this New York band’s work seemed to exclusively begin with a biographical paragraph emphasising the fact that this is not a Japanese solo artist. Having established a reputation as one of the premier nu-gaze acts with 2006’s Citrus, however, such formalities are probably no longer required. Indeed, thanks to a couple of high profile appearances on the popular TV series Skins (which, for better or worse, made the Gossip a household name in the UK) the intimidating group of teenagers skulking around outside my flat probably know more about Asobi Seksu (no pun intended) than I do.
Hush is by no means a radical departure from Citrus, but it does represent a gentle step in the direction of more orchestral dream-pop. Most of the songs are three to four minutes long, and this is indicative of a growing pop sensibility. The slow, shimmering Layers announces the arrival of this new and improved Asobi Seksu, building – as the title suggests – to a lush, multilayered finale. Familiar Light features more inventive percussion work and evokes the spirit of the Cocteau Twins at their very best. Along with the cheery Me and Mary (late-80s jangle-pop through a shoegaze filter) and the delightfully melodic Sunshower, this is about as overtly pop as Hush gets. Elsewhere, the stuttering reverberations of Mehnomae and gloomy tones of I Can’t See add some welcome balance to the proceedings, preventing Hush from sounding too saccharine.
Asobi Seksu have succeeded in crafting a mature yet playful follow-up to their breakout album, Citrus. This is a strong, satisfying record that will comfortably consolidate the band’s reputation as a genre favourite.8 February, 2009 - 18:08 — David Coleman