More motorik-riffic Krautrock than you can
shake a Czukay stick at.
By Blurt Staff
How many Brits does
it take to screw in a… aw, you know. With their second album Lightbulbs en route on Sept. 16 from the
wonderfully named Deaf, Dumb + Blind label, dancepop/Krautrock enthusiasts
Fujiya & Miyagi will also be doing a brief U.S. tour (major markets only) in
October. Together since 2000 and originally an electronica duo, the band added
a bassist a few years later to add a more rock-y underpinning to their sound;
2006’s Transparent Things drew
critical and blog kudos from all the right corners, and it’s been full speed
ahead ever since.
Imagine that Fujiya &
Miyagi are mask-wearing technicians dissecting music, keen to magnify particles
of sound to create a pulsing antidote to the ordinary. They speak in tongues,
using language as a rhythm, picking words that sound good, rhyming ‘jigsaws’
Their songs are incisive snapshots of real lives that make household appliances
sound threatening. They are steeped in vintage music from evocative krautrock
to deep soul, with wafts of early Human League synth, Floydian Englishness and
the throbbing groove of Tom Tom Club, all filtered for modern times.
In total, Fujiya & Miyagi don’t really sound like anything. Instead, they
sound like everything condensed into perfectly arranged three minute chunks of
infectious pop music, a strange hybrid of James Brown on Valium and Wire gone
pop. Or maybe Serge Gainsbourg with a PhD in electronics backed by David
Byrne’s Eno-produced scratchy guitar mixed by MF Doom. It’s Darwinism gone mad.
Formed in 2000 as an electronic duo of David Best (guitars and vocals) and
Steve Lewis (synths, beats, programming), they released Electro Karaoke In The
Negative Style two years later, a minimal electronic set it hangs eerily on
Best’s distinctive whispered vocal. Adding bass player Matt Hainsby in 2004,
they released a series of ten inch EPs that took them to the hearts of
fanzineland. Gathered together these parables of personal injury, both physical
and mental, made up three quarters of the well-received (Pitchfork, NME, MOJO,
etc) album Transparent Things in 2006. Named after a Nabokov brain dump on the
relationship between the past and the present. It sums them up.
A Regal seven-inch, Uh, further concentrated their sound. A set of vocal ticks,
a funky bass and a storyline about a relationship as prickly as two porcupines,
it made small talk sound sinister over an infectious groove. It was the perfect
set up for their third album proper, Light Bulbs – imagine 11 classic ideas
clicking on above your head, now with real drums in places, courtesy of Lee
Adams, and the picture is complete.
Fujiya & Miyagi stay away from lyrical themes that have been done to death.
Using old synths to punctuate their beautifully-observed anecdotes on romantic
triumphs and disasters, heroes and villains and the world at large, their
rhythms palpitate to produce modern symphonies like no-one else. Light Bulbs is
a journey littered with fragmented images, anecdotes from the sublime to the
ridiculous, blurry stories that you feel you shouldn’t have overheard. Each
track an aural contamination set to itch your inner ear every waking moment.
2008 Mercury Lounge New
Oct 23 2008 Webster Hall New York
Oct 24 2008 Paradise Boston
Oct 25 2008 Bottom Lounge Chicago
Oct 27 2008 Chop Suey Seattle
Oct 28 2008 The Independent San
Oct 30 2008 The Troubadour Los Angeles