Asobi Seksu

February 19, 2010

Polyvinyl Records

If you didn't know that their name translates to "casual sex" before hearing Asobi Seksu's earlier albums, you'd be a little scandalized. The first two records were certainly full of playful charm, but it's on Hush, their newest full-length CD, that the sexy part comes in. Vocal ranges are bared in full glory -vocalist Yuki Chikudate goes low and sensuous on "Sing Tomorrow's Praise," and then the rarely heard guitarist James Hannah appears for some deep male harmony and makes a strong melodic debut on "I Can't See," a track that envelops you in shoegaze paradise for the last 60 seconds. Hush is also big on climaxes. Each final minute on the latter six tracks is an explosion of one thing or another. See "In the Sky," a track that speeds into a whirring metallic mind meld, and "Me & Mary," which features the most intense drum finale in AS history. The sweetest final minute though, appears as a hidden treat at the end of "Blind Little Rain," a Kevin Shields-esque synth snippet, possibly meant as a preview for what's to come, or maybe just a way to tease you until next time. - Christine Vitar