We went bananas over Fujiya & Miyagi's debut US full-length, Transparent Things. These fellas have been making asses shake since their formation back in 2000, when David Best and Steve Lewis, adding in bassist Matt Hainsby in 2004. These days their sound has gotten even larger, bringing in Lee Adams for live drumming as well.
Their brand new album, Lightbulbs, picks up right where Transparent Things left off. Bests' whispered vocals and lyrical wit are backed by the synth splendor, mashing up influences ranging from Human League to Wire. The results make for some of the most enjoyable pop we've heard this year. Their previous record put them on the map, but from our first few listens to the new tunes, this one will definitely take them to a whole new level.
Lightbulbs will hit stores in the US on September 16 via Deaf, Dumb + Blind Recordings. Although we can't share any music with our loyal readers yet, we can offer you the tracklisting with a bit of commentary about each song. Dig it:
01. "Kickerbocker Glory"
A vibration of words that sound good, touching on lost innocence, child star Lena Zavaroni, the very first tragedy of X Factor-style excess, and the joy of multi-storeyed ice cream sundaes at Woolacombe Bay.
It stops, it starts, it stutters with vocal embellishments making a rhythmic home for some funky bass, with everyday time-saving, no beating around the bush, one-liners as shorthand for a romance gone wrong.
Based on the flickering black and white Bresson movie, the perfect stolen metaphor for ideas purloined, with intricate tinkling percussive momentum, a hooky idea with a conscience.
Steel City synths add swathes of texture as we escort a goosebumped couple through a park full of Stella Artois and stale beefburger-addled lowlifes proving that love blossoms between many thorns.
05. "Rook To Queen's Pawn Six"
Loose funk, with a playful guitar rattle, rolling it's 'R's through the story of chess eccentric Bobby Fischer who's caught in a cold war Bond-esque challenge with computers and a bug in his teeth.
06. "Sore Thumb"
A strutting funk celebration of heroic Viv Stanshall whose Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead has him sounding like Beefheart especially on the psychedelic rumba of the justifiably namechecked Strange Tongues.
A cry for non-veg normality, where the most mundane claustrophobic conversations, the creation of chill out compilations and painting the walls magnolia sound like a recipe for disaster.
Any song about synchronised swimmers has to have a pin prick sharp syncopation, a rhythmic anchor behind a series of oh ah uh ahs and a juddering melody line. Just like this.
More tales of difficult harmony. Every broken hearted relationship failure involves splitting the contents of the record, book and video collection, but what about the cat.
10. "Light Bulbs"
An everyday story of odd couples and role reversals punctuated with a synth that sounds like a funereal northern brass band heralding the need to get back into a similar rut. ASAP.
11. "Hundreds And Thousands"
To summarise Light Bulbs, a four minute synth-powered wrap-up instrumental where the credits roll and the cast take their plaudits. Let's return to track one and its theme of ice cream simplicity.