Asobi Seksu
Hush


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
February 13th, 2009 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fans of the shoegazer elements heard on Citrus may be disappointed with Asobi Seksu's new direction, but Hush is a worthwhile album all the same.

No matter what the final product may have been, the moment Asobi Seksu began writing the follow up to the highly praised Citrus it became inevitable that there would be some sort of fan backlash. And this shouldn't surprise anybody; there are innumerable examples of bands or artists who have, for better or for worse, changed their sound only to be bombarded with criticism on the unveiling of new material. The reverb heavy shoegaze heard on Citrus won over many a fan back in 2006, and for very good reason. Though the band did take a page out of early 90s shoegaze bands, they turned around and added their own unique flair to the record, which prevented them from sounding too much like your typical, shoegazing revivalists.

Of course, 'shoegaze revivalists' was exactly what Asobi Seksu was tagged as following the fanfare surrounding Citrus. Perhaps at odds with such a label, Hush sees Asobi Seksu mellow out their sound dramatically. Indeed, the quartet's third album has a lot more in common with Cocteau Twins than the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. What shoegaze or noise pop stylings that could once be considered staples in the band's sound are now gone; only the album's penultimate track and first single "Me and Mary" features even a lick of heavy distortion, and even then, it has more of a subtle effect on the actual mix than the band's sound itself.

Instead, Hush treats listeners to a shimmering slab of dream-pop. Admittedly, the overall structure of Asobi Seksu's song writing hasn't changed quite as much as its sound. The aptly titled opening track "Layers" demonstrates exactly this; the music, delicate sounding though it may be, integrates multiple tracks of instrumentation which offer a denser, yet still airy feel. The end result of this isn't noisy or muddled, yet at the same time, to call Hush clear or overproduced would be inaccurate. In actuality, Asobi Seksu compromises between the two extremes, offering listeners a deceptively crisp production that still incorporates a lush, multilayered sound. Indeed, the aforementioned "Layers" follows this formula to a tee; one can discern the glistening guitar work under the somewhat timid drumming, and the heavy presence of keyboards and synthesizer. Vocalist Yuki Chikudate's breathy singing style accentuates the instrumental layers extremely well, sometimes even acting as a fourth fifth instrument rather than the band's mouth piece. She flip-flops between Japanese and English lyrics every so often, though such a fact might as well be meaningless given that her lyrics are often rendered indecipherable due to the nature of the mix.

Apart from Chikudate's transcendent vocal efforts, Hush is hardly makes for a truly breathtaking experience. But be that as it may, the band's third album remains a relaxing listen all the same. Despite the multilayered format, the majority of Asobi Seksu's compositions keep to simple pop formulas as opposed to the complexity of their more experimental contemporaries. The blissful, vibrant textures that manifest themselves through each track are absolutely stunning, particularly during the likes of "Gliss" and "Glacially". The nearly immaculate "Me and Mary" is the album's crowning moment, as it combines the dreamy shoegaze roots of old with the band's newfound pop flair nurtured throughout the album. "Transparence" follows closely behind, though this time favouring Chikudate's singing over the buzz of James Henna's reverb soaked guitar riffs.

Fans of the shoegazer elements heard on Citrus will probably be disappointed with Asobi Seksu's dream pop aspirations, but to write it off based on such would be a mistake. Hush makes an excellent foray into dream pop without sounding dated or contrived. In essence, listening to Hush could be akin to being dropped off in some wintery place, only beautiful and vibrant rather than bitterly cold and wet. Whether or not Hush surpasses Citrus will depend on the listener, but it hardly matters in the end; Hush not only breaks down new barriers for the band, but more importantly, is just a pleasure to listen to. Besides, how could you say no to a band named after a Japanese colloquial referring casual sex"



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
February 13th 2009


14968 Comments


Knowing you and knowing me, I think I'll like this. Nice review.

AtavanHalen
February 13th 2009


17920 Comments


New Years and Thursday are absolutely beautiful songs, I'll have to listen to this, man. Another stellar write-up.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2009


3103 Comments


Good looks, mayne.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
February 13th 2009


3912 Comments


good is

Digging: Ghostface Killah - The Lost Tapes

jrowa001
February 13th 2009


8752 Comments


ive been meaning to check this out

NortherlyNanook
February 13th 2009


1285 Comments


Well, that's kind of disappointing. I'm one of those who liked the more obvious shoegaze elements, but I'll still probably check this out.

rasputin
February 13th 2009


14968 Comments


Just finished listening, it's fantastic.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 13th 2009


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers, guys.

Well, that's kind of disappointing. I'm one of those who liked the more obvious shoegaze elements, but I'll still probably check this out.
Well, I went in expecting shoegaze too. Still really impressed though.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 14th 2009


4970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i think citrus is better, but this is still solid.

charlesfishtitz
February 14th 2009


784 Comments


mehhh

superae
February 14th 2009


80 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's good.

AggravatedYeti
February 14th 2009


7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I want this

mellowing out and going dream pop may be exactly what this band needed after 'Citrus' -- which was killer.

*is excited*

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 14th 2009


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, nice to see them branch out but still stay interesting.



Everybody needs to hear Me and Mary at the very least.

MarcusSiregar
February 15th 2009


54 Comments


mellowing out and going dream pop may be exactly what this band needed after 'Citrus' killer.
does not compute

scyther
February 15th 2009


1606 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Citrus is still leagues better but I like this.

AggravatedYeti
February 17th 2009


7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

does not compute


sorry you have faulty hardware -- 'Me & Mary' is the shit by the way.



BallsToTheWall
February 17th 2009


48858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, this is a solid album. WTF is the 2.8 and 1 rating. As for the album, i'm between a high 3.5 low 4.

MarcusSiregar
February 17th 2009


54 Comments


it obviously sucks when balls likes it

BallsToTheWall
February 17th 2009


48858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like automatically bro. I should just stick to my Agnostic Front and Earth Crisis amiright?

AggravatedYeti
February 18th 2009


7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ srsly



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