Some words, and then a very certain type of record. A fifth glass of wine, and then I’m on the floor: headphones on, volume primed and loaded, layers of music, texture, reverb, until the first acknowledgement of savage dawn. It’s a reflex action; some people discover a portal into the mind of John Malkovitch in their local dysfunctional office building – I only found Kevin Shields.
I’m not sure how long the shoegaze revival has been unfolding, but it’s been far longer than the title of this post implies. Living in London for a lost and star-struck decade, the motif was one of forcing as many Asobi Seksu tracks into my ears as I could – usually when drunk, but certainly not exclusively so. Moose at Marble Arch, Lush in Leicester Square, Ultra Vivid Scene on the Underground (and even – somewhat bizarrely – Slowdive on Sunset Boulevard, the juxtaposition of So-Cal headfuck hour with a track such as ‘Souvlaki Space Station’ something that unaccountably works).
And more recently, not a great deal has changed (beyond swapping the grinding metropolis for some strange and shadowy exile); there’s still a steady flow of dream-tinged sonics washing across the stereo, each sounding so fresh and vital that any one of them could have been recorded in 1989.
NYC-based Asobi Seksu (Japanese for ‘playful sex’) have been around for a decade or so, practitioners of the textured and heady variety of dream pop that I’m powerless to resist. Chainsaw guitar licks, above which floats a vocal that’s deceptively fragile; it’s only when Yuki Chikudate has drawn you in that she unleashes far grander intonations (Drowned In Sound once described her as “half Bjork, half Hello Kitty”– a sentiment I’m slightly uncomfortable with, but I can see what they’re getting at).
Latest album Fluorescence has been out a couple of months; well worth spending some of your pocket money on. But below the words – a 2007 single that’s a particular favourite in the LGM compound. Pull up a wine glass; the floorboards are strangely comfortable at 3am.
Asobi Seksu / Walk On The Moon