Fujiya & Miyagi have to be the biggest conundrum in the music world, at least according to my tastes (read: opinion). They make these rhythmically pulsing beats, yet they seem to sort of live on one plane of sound, never really going. Yet, through the years, people have continuously raved about the group, and now that their latest, Ventriloquizzing, is out, it’s time to take a close look at their work.
This record kicks off as you would expect, “Ventriloquizzing” sort of creating that atmospheric dance vibe fueled by bass work that just grooves and grooves. But, that’s it, it purely grooves, and doesn’t go much further. Just because you’re throwing in ambient noises in the background, doesn’t mean the work itself is really going anywhere. The song, like much of this record, runs in place.
Don’t get me wrong folks, I like a little bit of groove, and I’ve admittedly enjoyed the group when I’ve seen them in the live setting, but it’s hard to really get into the Fujiya & Miyagi recorded material. For one, when you throw a lyric at me like “you don’t know which side your bread is buttered on” right at me, it’s definitely not going to wow me. And I know the band has never been one for overly creative lyrical content, but one expects some progression, some step further in the right direction. It’s becoming increasingly hard to get beyond this point, as they keep throwing things at us like “vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory” from their last effort.
There are some marked improvements that show the band is having a bit of fun with little playful elements like the opening of “Taiwanese Roots.” But those moments only last for few brief moments, and then you go right back into the same tried and true formulaic approach the band have been utilizing since their inception. By this point, you would think one would tire of such antics, but the band don’t seem to care. I have a feeling that it’s all some sort of artistic approach that revolves around a school of thought that, in my mind, remains irrelevant for a reason. You can give it up to the band, as they are probably tighter than 99.9% of the bands out there, but that’s not going to get me to enjoy their music anymore.
Ventriloquizzing is the fourth LP from the group, and it sounds exactly like all the one’s that came before it. It’s not necessarily a bad listen, in fact, it’s perfect for the background, most likely at your favorite industrially decorated coffee house. Still, Fujiya & Miyagi are a band that just tread water when I listen to them. Lyrically, they never go anywhere, especially with songs like “Minsterone.” Then, take into account that you could easily put together a best of compilation by this group, remove the lyrics, and everything would sound precisely the same, rendering it one of the worst records of all time. I guess if you’re looking for a somewhat energetic album to run to while you’re living in an urban environment, then grab this and go.