Friday, February 13, 2009

Asobi Seksu - Strawberries 2x7" (+ live at Crawdaddy, Dublin 11/02/09)

(inside of the gatefold. All artwork by Sean McCabe)

("Limited Edition Red Vinyl With Strawberry Scented Sleeves" - yes, really. Subtle enough, but in a sugary-sweet flavouring sort of way. As one might expect.)

'Strawberries' - Edit (3:29)

'Strawberries' - CSS Remix (3:19)

This double 7" came out in November 2007, a month before the Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) single, both in support of their second album, Citrus. Currently they're touring their third, Hush, which officially comes out on February 17th, on Polyvinyl Records. Obviously I'm more familiar with the songs from Citrus, of which there were a few played at the gig - notably 'Strawberries', 'Pink Clouds Tracing Paper' and 'Thursday'. The songs from Hush sound very strong though.

First thing that hit me about the band was the sound of the drums - absolutely pummelling, a piercing bass drum - which makes a lot of sense given the drummer's previous work. Actually it reminded me, in a live setting, of a favourite Irish band of mine, Ham Sandwich (though I would make the comparison more generally anyway), who have a heavy rhythm section, shoegazy guitar and a female vocalist as well. Though there can be few modern comparisons with the vocals of Yuki Chikudate, which are simply stunning (and surprisingly audible in the context).

The show drew to a close with the My Bloody Valentine-clone of 'Pink Clouds Tracing Paper', and for an encore, a transcendentally distorted version of 'Red Sea'. Thankfully it didn't reach the sound levels or duration of MBV's recent "holocausts", but it's always a good thing when, in a gig, the visual and auditory inputs from the stage cease to appear to be 100% experientially, in-the-same-room real. Now that's shoegaze.

Other reviews here and here. It also was Gig of the Week in the Irish Times too, with a nice photograph, but only it seems available in the print edition.

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