Asobi Seksu - Citrus
It's outlandish, euphoric and perhaps strangest of all, quite catchy.
In their continued presence as almost supernatural influences, increasingly more bands and DJs cite My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth as guiding institutions. And you see them pay homage. Having said that; as they ride the peaks and troughs of this second album which finally sees a UK release this month, Asobi Seksu (that's Japanese for casual sex, by the way) could fast become something of an institution themselves. By fusing components of these pioneers together they've come up with a dazzling album in Citrus.
Many folk sighed relief when shoegazing bands vanished with the onslaught of grunge and dance music that washed over these isles around the early 90s. But the aesthetic seems to have been making a recent re-emergence with more acts splicing their samples and loops with live instrumentation. Echoing these palettes of Kevin Shields, Thurston Moore et al, the quartet meander through the climes of 80s and 90s indie-rock, loving heavy racing rhythms and fuzzy, echoing production. It's uplifting stuff, like a good set of Clarks shoes.
Asobi Seksu can also take it skyward, sending off heavily distorted fireworks that'll set the hairs on your neck straight up and make you wonder where they'll go next. Versatile frontwoman Yuki Chikudate sings in English and Japanese, soulful and delicate, at times like Kristin Hersh. The music purrs and roars through delicate lows and fiery peaks and they smash them all to pieces with their indie-rock guitars. It's outlandish, euphoric and perhaps strangest of all, quite catchy. [Chris Bathgate]