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Playboy & Playgirl

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Album Review

Playboy & Playgirl begins with the kind of collage-heavy imagined soundtrack that marked Happy End of the World; with that out of the way, they get back to the inspired, eclectic popcraft that is their strength. Hookier and more danceable than their previous album, this is a welcome return to songwriting for the dynamic duo. Think Burt Bacharach without the self-pity, with a smidgen of Motown and Stax. Keyboard timbres run the gamut of the Pizzicato imagination from faux-harpsichord to spacy funk. Singer Nomiya Maki puts her unpretentious stamp over everything from Sgt. Pepper's pomp to '60s R&B horns to symphonic dancefloor beats to introspective pastorals. While P5 may be in with the lounge crowd, they never feel superior to their cheesy predecessors; avoiding the sometimes smug, reactionary irony of the new exotica, Yasuharu Konishi's diverse influences are held together by his all-embracing love of the pop spectrum. A joyous record. [Note: Playboy & Playgirl was released in Japan in 1998 under the title The International Playboy & Playgirl Record; Matador's 1999 American release cuts the third track, "International Pizzicato Five Mansion," and substitutes "La Règle du Jeu" later in the album's running order.]

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Godfathers of the Shibuya-kei scene, Tokyo kitsch-pop deconstructionists Pizzicato Five originally began taking shape as far back as 1979, when university students Yasuharu Konishi and Keitaro Takanami first met at a local music society meeting. Agreeing to form a band, they soon recruited fellow society member Ryo Kamamiya; their search for a suitable vocalist proved frustrating, however, and only in late 1984 did they settle on singer Mamiko Sasaki. The first Pizzicato Five single, "Audrey Hepburn...
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Playboy & Playgirl, Pizzicato Five
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