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0.0 zillah | October 16th 11

Fujiwa and Miyagi's third album sounds mighty intriguing on first listen, but--for me at least--that initial reaction turned out to be deceptive. Arguably, Ventriloquizzing presents a slight overall improvement on 2008's Lightbulbs, but nearly all of that improvement is due to its greater immediacy. The best thing about these guys continues to be their sense of humor: "Minestrone" features the best parodic lyrics about devil worship since Future of the Left declared in 2009 that "Yeah, Satan rules but that doesn't mean we can't be practical". But the humor, which sounds like it might be motivated by a bad break up, tends to be pretty one-note. "OK" is an exception, a sweet bit of optimism that stands out in the midst of songs about pills that make you sick, hypocritical vegetarians, and beatings that leave you sixteen shades of black and blue. Menace in dance music is a venerable tradition, but here it's all laid over the sort of frigid, monotonous, club noise that anybody out to enjoy themselves on a Saturday night would likely use as bar-break music. After ten or so listens David Best's you're-so-fucked-up-as-am-I-but-at-least-I'm-detached subversiveness is pretty worn through and you're left with a sense of exhaustion. These guys are obviously talented; but that mostly translates as: they can obviously do better than this.


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