Asobi Seksu – Hush

Asobi Seksu - Hush

Asobi Seksu - Hush

To the culturally ignorant, Asobi Seksu may sound like the name of a Japanese singer-songwriter or perhaps a Japanese punk band. And though the moniker is colloquial Japanese for “casual sex”, they are in fact a NYC quartet that specializes in fresh-sounding dream-pop with ethereal vocals, airy guitars and hushed indie-rock beats.

The band’s third album, Hush, has the perfect title too, as singer Yuki Chikudate coos in a tranquilizing voice that is heavenly, atmospheric and lush, much like Elizabeth Fraser did with the Cocteau Twins. With the way Yuki sings in both English and Japanese, with an operatic loveliness, one can’t help but think of the unique verbalizations of the Cocteau’s Fraser. The music on Hush also borrows heavily from the sublime sound of the Cocteau Twins with delicate, heavily reverbed and spangly guitars. Combined with airy synth washes and crisp, vibrant beats, the songs have a multi-layered and textural edge to them.

Where Asobi Seksu deviate from the vaporous, atmospheric formula of the Cocteau’s though, is their inclusion of a touch of the Euro-pop sound of ABBA, a glint of the slick bass lines from 80’s synth-pop, fragments of scratchy, acid-pop guitar squalls and even an occasional male vocal part, courtesy of guitarist James Hanna. The result is a refreshing and vibrant take on the celestial shoegazing convention for a more organic sound with less atmosphere and intrigue and more concrete and soaring melodies.

While there are plenty of dreamy, layered soundscapes to delight the ears, they are incorporated into well crafted songs that shimmer with lush and gossamer melodies and catchy beats. There are also plenty of the band’s signature fuzzy, shoegazing guitar swirls as well, only they are toned down a bit and in perfect balance with the sweeping and luxurious ambience.

Hush is an excellent, if not totally innovative, album of jaunty and jangly atmospheric dream-pop that is rich and full and can be enjoyed at low volume as soothing morning music or as engaging rock music blasted at full volume.

Recommended If You Like (RIYL): Cocteau Twins, Delays, Violet Indiana, Mahogany and Rumskib

Recommended Tracks: “Sunshower”, “In The Sky” and “Glacially”