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Stay Awake b/w Then He Kissed Me

  Asobi Seksu  
  Gigantic Music  
Release Date:


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Astute readers of this fine 'Zine will note that we have been big fans of Asobi Seksu for many moons. They are not the most productive of bands, preferring instead to spend time perfecting their songs, then releasing something, and then touring for years before recording again. They released their excellent sophomore album Citrus back in 2006, and are still touring for it! In the meantime, they have teamed up with the fine folks at Gigantic Records to release this 7" single.

This is a very old-fashioned artifact. The vinyl itself has the large hole old 45s had, and to my pleasure it has the speed clearly marked on it. The sleeve is excellent -- it is a gatefold, featuring a 14 by 7 inside pictorial spread of Asobi Seksu in the studio. All in all, physically this is a very nice product.

The A-side is Stay Awake, and this is a slow song for them, almost a ballad. They don't do slow songs too often, and hearing this makes me wonder why. They pull this off effortlessly, with James Hanna strumming away under some nice phase shifting, drummer Chris Zane tapping lightly at his kit, and bassist Haji playing a slinky bassline. It is vocalist and keyboardist Yuki that really shies here, though. She plays some lovely synths almost reminiscent of Dennis DeYoung's work on The Grand Illusion album, and her voice is even more delicate than usual, as she does not have to strain to be heard above a dense sound. The song builds to a climax of bass strumming, piano, waves of guitar, and lots of cymbals. Very nice.

The B-side is a cover of the old Phil Spector produced Crystals tune And Then He Kissed Me. They have been doing this in concert for a long time, and their shoegazery sound blends well with the Spectorishness of this song. Personally, i think the version on their live record Spaceland Presents: Asobi Seksu [at the Echo - October 6, 2006] (a title which, admittedly, falls off the tongue like a brick dropped from a balcony), is superior. Live, the song is a deafening wall of noise, with Yuki singing the old girl-group vocals alone, pushing her voice to be heard over the guitar wall. Here, the production is a sparse, a technique which worked for the A-Side, but i find that it makes this version slightly sterile. Still, this is a good tune, and their faithful cover is a good thing.

Overall, this is a fine 7". I continue to look forward to what Asobi Seksu will do next. I think we are due for a new record this year. (I hope!)

Related Links:

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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


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