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Album Review

As the first full-length debut of Fujiya & Miyagi (their 2006 release was actually a compilation of songs from previously released EPs), Lightbulbs shows the Brighton Brits attempting to prove themselves as much more than a pseudo-Japanese novelty act. That's not to say that Dave Best and the gang have toned back their deadpan sense of humor. Nonsensical non-sequiturs, scatting onomatopoeias, and tongue twisters still dominate the lyrics, and the wry James Murphy-esque speakeasy delivery is still evident, but now the pep has been downplayed slightly to make for more mellowed grooves. The production has thickened a bit, too, courtesy of a higher concentration of ambient textures. Airy synths and breathy vocals render the songs too dreamy to dance to, and the funky basslines and mechanical beats render them too dancey to dream to. That's the sweet spot of F&M. Call the songs lackadaisical hypno-grooves, if you will, or use the band's label of "whisper-electro" to define the sound, but essentially it's calming, polite, electro-pop that invokes '60s lounge, '70s Krautrock, and '80s synth pop while staying relevant to more modern sounds popularized by Hot Chip, Ladytron, and Air. "Knickerbocker" is an infectious jam with a driving rhythm that pays tribute to Kraftwerk, a hook that subtly rips off the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" ("vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory" mimics "Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you") and verses that give props to Hans Christian Anderson, Lena Zavaroni, and Dietrich Knickerbocker. If that's not fun, what is?

Customer Reviews


We are as prickly as a couple of porcupines lol


Formed: 1999 in Brighton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Despite the name, Fujiya & Miyagi are neither Japanese nor a duo. The electronic trio of singer and guitarist David Best, synth player Steve Lewis, and bassist Matt Hainsby are deeply indebted both to vintage '70s Krautrock and the '90s bands that were themselves influenced by the likes of Neu! and Kraftwerk, from Stereolab and Broadcast to Aphex Twin and the Orb. The group started in the coastal city of Brighton, England in 1999, when Best and Lewis first met in a pickup football game. Taking their...
Full Bio
Lightbulbs, Fujiya & Miyagi
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Customer Ratings