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  Me & Mary b/w Breathe Into Glass  
  Asobi Seksu  
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We have moved into a new era of listening. Everyone has a personal digital music player (i have a Zune; Tracers an iPhone; etc.), and yet every few months you will see an article about how vinyl is making a "comeback". This is all fine with me, as i enjoy both formats.

In this new era, Polyvinyl Records has got your back. Many (perhaps all – i am honestly not sure) of their releases come out on vinyl, and when you get the vinyl it comes with a download certificate, so your can get MP3s from their server to place on your Zune. So at home i can spin the 7" vinyl, and on the go and i can hear the songs in the comfort of my earphones. The best of both words, really.

So here is the latest Asobi Seksu release. They are a Polyvinyl band now, after having released their first two full-lengths on Friendly Fire. I was pleased to see them added to the Polyvinyl roster, as in general i enjoy Polyvinyl bands, and their addition seems to confirm my suspicion that this label is doing "my kind of thing".

This single is out in advance of Hush, Asobi Seksu's third full-length, which will hit stores in February. The A-side is from the album, but the B-side is non-album and available only to this release. Polyvinyl plainly mark the speed on each side of the 7" record. Thank you.

Now, it is important to note that for each album, Asobi Seksu have had a different lineup. Vocalist/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna are the core of the band, and they have changed rhythm sections quite often. Currently Mr. Hanna is playing bass, while someone named Gunnar Olsen is drumming, and Devon Maxwell and producer Chris Zane are credited with "percussion". So lots of rhythm in this version of the band.

The A-side is called Me & Mary, and is a teaser for the sound on Hush. This is a sunshiny pop tune with lots of drumming. Seriously – why is there so much drumming going on here? It seems out of place, like Olsen thought he was doing a Metallica cover, and the rest of the band just worked around it. Strange. This crazy drumming is combined with some nicely fuzzed guitar from Mr. Hanna and Chikudate's tinkling keys. Her voice is produced differently here than on previous releases: it is a little more out front, and carries a hint of the 60s girl group pop that Asobi Seksu have been toying with. That is, there is a real emotive style that is almost soulful at times. The end of the tune is crazy – the guitars go berserk, and then you hear some strange sound that is almost like a dial tone… I don’t know what is up with that. Overall, this is okay. The song is too busy – it's the copious amounts of drumming that do it. It just doesn't seem to flow together very well, and in general is not their best work.

The B-side, Breathe Into Glass, is a languid tune with a nice guitar arpeggio and some restrained (especially when compared to that A-side) drumming. Yuki sings slowly, almost sorrowfully. It gets a bit louder in the middle, but in general this song bears a bit of a Beach House reference. Perhaps it is the organ-like keyboard patch that Yuki is using, or maybe James's slow guitar, or the minimalist tapped drums. Either way, this is my favorite of the two tracks here, and in general is a damned fine tune.

The A-side drags this single down. It is not my favorite thing Asobi Seksu have done. Hopefully the entire album will not be like Me & Mary. I would like to hear an album's worth of Breathe Into Glass, though.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   Concert: Mon.8.Nov.04
   Album: Asobi Seksu
   Concert:  Mon.14.Feb.05
   Festival Performance: South by SouthWest 2005 - Day 1
   Concert: Thu.19.Oct.06
   7": Stay Awake b/w Then He Kissed Me


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