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Asobi Seksu: Hush

 

C

Asobi Seksu

Album: Hush
Label: Polyvinyl

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Asobi Seksu has the basic tools of a shoegaze-inclined band: female vocals begging to be called “ethereal,” high-pitched keyboard sounds, infinite guitar layers. But unlike the stellar single “Thursday,” from 2006’s Citrus, Hush has no songs that build to any kind of cumulative impact. It’s admirable if the band wants to avoid pounding out generic banging anthems, but in a quest to avoid the obvious, they’ve avoided coherence as well. Hush has evocative openings, jangly verses, weird time-signature changes, and plaintive interludes to spare, but not in any real order. All the songs flow into each other without establishing their own identities. For all of their shoegaze love, Asobi Seksu don’t improve or gain any impact when played loud; they’re between Blonde Redhead without the songwriting structure and Deerhunter without the energy. Time and time again, songs begin promisingly only to disappear into themselves, or emerge with a striking bridge in the middle of nothing. The group’s members have the skills and sound; now they just need to figure out what to do with them.