Asobi Seksu - Citrus
Reviewed by Andreas on 6th June 2006
I've had 'Citrus' in my hands for little over a week. This second album from New Yorkers Asobi Seksu (which apparently means "Playful Sex") is an odd one in many ways. It is an utterly sublime pop album on one hand, and on the other it can be a bit of a taxing experience. It changes effortlessly between sweet melodies and very large soundscapes with a varying degree of success. However, when Asobi Seksu really pull out all the stops, the two mix into a simply glorious wall of pop noise rocks thing with vocalist Yuki's ethereal voice gliding over without any effort. The songs 'New Year' and closing number 'Mizo Asobi' are the best examples of this, being songs you can play over and over on many different occasions - the album has served as both my wake-up disc and my walking-home-at-night-disc.
At this point, let me just say that 'Citrus' is by no means a bad album. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is a very good album. The moments that Asobi Seksu create in some of the songs are invigorating. It is then just a shame that some of the songs are a bit off the mark. 'Strawberries', the album's first actual song is an example where the idea of Asobi Seksu doesn't work as well as it should - it all becomes a bit awkward, for lack of better words. The drums bash, the guitar swirls and the vocals kind of drip onto the track and whilst it is definitely not bad, it could be so much better. For instance like they so effortlessly demonstrate on 'Thursday' and 'Goodbye', where upbeat pop meets the excellent guitar work of James Hanna, a man who's got his fingers and understanding tightly wrapped around a distortion pedal that blows everything sky high. It is those moments that make 'Citrus' one of the best albums you'll hear all year, when the emotions conveyed in these songs hit that central nerve; the word "poetic" is only a beginning description.
It is very hard to actually put any type of rating to this album. The highs are so high, but the disappointing bits are even further so because of this. In conclusion, 'Citrus' is well worth your money - whilst some of the songs are so instantly good they make you want to dance, the rest will most likely grow on you. This collection of bittersweet, multilingual and spinningly ambitious songs certainly grows on me every time it hits the deck.
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