tue 23/04/2024

CD: Fujiya & Miyagi - Fujiya & Miyagi | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Fujiya & Miyagi - Fujiya & Miyagi

CD: Fujiya & Miyagi - Fujiya & Miyagi

A decade-and-a-half into their career, the misleadingly named electro-pop trio remain strong

As in, FujiYA & MiYAgi

Fujiya & Miyagi are greater than the sum of their parts. Singer David Best recently explaned that he "sees it as an album rather than a compilation", but Fujiya & Miyagi’s sixth album is, essentially, a collection of three EPs, combining 2016’s EP1 and EP2 with three sparkling new tracks.

Despite all the songs being written, recorded and released at different points over the last year, the album is pleasingly coherent. As with all Fujiya & Miyagi’s work, bleeps, pulses, and closed hi-hats provide the building blocks for the music, yet Best has ventured that this album is “more honest” than their previous work. From a listener’s perspective, he’s not wrong: intimacy prevails, even on floor-filling jams like “Extended Dance Mix”.

For music that has such strength in its simplicity, the Brighton band seem to be condensing a huge number of influences; everything from The Beta Band to The Streets to New Order can be found buried in this slightly tighter version of their signature brand of whispered electropop.

EP1’s “Serotonin Rushes” builds beautifully, with the winding synths and understated guitar lines culminating in a glorious, howling flanger-guitar solo which hangs just the right side of indulgent. Of the new songs, “Solitaire” is perhaps the stand-out. Imagine The 2 Bears teaming up with The xx to create spooky-dancefloor pop; somehow both tightly wound and laid back, all at once. “Synthetic Symphonies”, another previously unreleased track, sees the band steering a darker, more suspenseful course, held together by unexpected chord shifts and clever dynamic changes.

Nothing on the album feels superfluous. The band have perfected their craft over the last decade and produced a collection of rock-solid songs, trimmed of fat and excess. As a result, Fujiya & Miyagi is an extremely engaging listen. It may be a minimalist landscape drive by drum machines, but it’s somehow still easy to get lost in it.

Watch Fujiya & Miyagi play "Seratonin Rushes" live

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