Fujiya & Miyagi – Lightbulbs

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Fujiya & Miyagi have garnered interest all over the world for several years now, and to a certain extent, they’re a band that does deserve some of the accolades that have been thrown to them.  However, they have got to do something to mix it up before they grow entirely stale for music audiences across the globe.

On the opening track of their last album, Transparent Things, they threw “Ankle Injuries” in our face.  It’s throbbing bass line moved your feet, but not too much because, let’s face it, it’s not this band’s style. On Lightbulbs they offer us a very similar tune in “Knickerbocker.”  It’s a clever trick because you immediately think the band will fulfill our fantasies of a danceable album.

Unfortunately for us, we don’t ever get to reap the benefits of their aptitude. The rest of the album comes off extremely mundane, which, in all honesty, is quite along the same lines as their debut release.  Every single beat is enjoyable enough, but not a single one has anything out of the ordinary to offer up, which tends to make the entire album sound seamlessly boring.  For some reason they take the most straightforward approach to writing dance songs, and the more focused they get on this album, the less danceable the songs get.  It’s like we all started dancing together, but everyone got bored and went home with their significant others.

I could speak on the lyrics and their attributes, but it’s extremely hard to find a lot of redeemable qualities about the words across this album.  Each song has little differentiation in the lyrics themselves, and most repeat throughout the album.  It makes everything entirely too redundant, limiting the ability of the song to rise above the music.  For me, it’s hard to even recall a special song because each one ends up sounding like a repeat of its predecessor.

This album is shorter than the previous one, which does make the songs more listenable, if you are into this sort of streamlined dance music.  For all the promise that they have, they rarely come across as a band that has warranted our attention.  Throw out the single, and you would probably find an album that you played once through and then put on your iPod strictly for workout tunes.  It’s an album that easily sinks into the background of your subconscious, where it will likely stay for eternity.

New Appleseed Cast

We may be a tad late on this, but I couldn’t resist when I found this little gem from The Appleseed Cast.  Below is a demo version of “Road West” which is said to appear on the band’s recently completed album Sagarmatha. Members of AC have also said that a pre-ep will be out in November with a full length due sometime in January.  The new track clocks in at over 8 minutes with no vocals in sight.  A new direction for the Lawrence boys?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/the-appleseed-cast-road-west-demo.mp3]

Download: The Appleseed Cast – Road West(demo) [MP3]

Colourmusic – F, Monday…

Colourmusic – F, Monday, Orange, February, Venus, Lunatic, 1 Or 13

Rating: ★★★★½

Oklahoma’s Colourmusic won me over long ago with their fantastic live shows, something I mentioned in the past, and now we are here to see if their debut album lives up to the hype of one of the most exciting bands around.

They open the album with “Motherfather,” a light tune that evokes some of the band’s British influences.  And you can add to that joy a brief bass solo.  It’s a clear statement from the beginning that Colourmusic will be a difficult band to define.

Immediately afterwards they push forward with the grittier “Put in A Little Gas.”  The song is fueled by the distorted guitars, juxtaposed with the playful chorus–or is that a verse? This song is sure to be the staple of the band’s live show, as the repetitive lyrics make it difficult for any crowd participant to ignore.

This act keep the pressure on with the continually upbeat “Gospel Song.” It’s the indie world’s response to call and response choir work, with a sexual undertone that may or may not be intentional.  Clearly this is a song that makes you want to throw your hands up and stomp around the floor of your room until the floorboards are nothing but dust.

I’m tempted to say that “Spring Song” has a little too much kitsch.  There is a line of playfulness that the band can cross at times, and this is one of those times.  Still, there is an attractive quality to the song that makes this song enjoyable.  I wonder if, as they say, “everyone is singing my song.”  It is catchy.

Enter “Circles.” It’s one of the band’s oldest songs, and it is one they’ve mastered to near perfection.  The constant switching in time builds the momentum throughout the song, encouraging you to tag along with the band.  Go far enough, and you’ll find yourself caught up in the chorus near the end of the circle, swinging yourself and your loved one “all around.”

“Someday Speaks Loudly” is something I can’t really describe.  It begins with some atmospherics, then the ghastly vocals float carefully through the core of the song, as the drumming builds in the background, crashing quietly into the end of the song.  Something is so familiar about this song.  I can’t place it, but if you can, let me know.

Prepare yourself for “Yes.”  This is easily one of the better songs on the album.  Sure, it gets a touch redundant lyrically, but its one of the more powerful songs the album has to offer.  Totally Belle and Sebastian playing metal songs.

“Rock and Roll Polar Bear” employs a similar tactic seen in this album.  It is a song that builds, slows down, then builds.  This is the key to Colourmusic and their intoxicating quality; they know precisely how to construct a song to evoke everything on their minds. I’m not sure there are other bands who can switch it up as quickly and convincingly.

Make sure you don’t skip “You Can Call Me by My Name.”  I don’t have anything bad to say about this song. Each moment in this song seems to fit exactly perfectly with the bands intentions; this is definitely one of those songs that people will beg for live.  It’s a solid song.

When I listen to “Fall Song,” I find it hard not to escape the Simon and Garfunkel reference points.  It’s either the gentle vocal quality that goes throughout or the effortless guitar work that evokes that idea.  This has to be a S & G cover song.  It has to be.

“Winter Song” is the best song on this album, and one of the best songs you will hear this year.  Honestly, it might not jump out at you immediately, but sometimes the simplest songs allow you to get carried away in your own mind, and in this case, you can go far.  Come on, “lets fall in love,” with Colourmusic.

The last two songs, “Try” and “Moolah” are a fitting end to the album.  They offer a glimpse of everywhere this band has gone on the album, and hint at possible planets they can visit in the near future.  As the album draws to a close, you realize that each song fits in to the album as whole.  It’s as if Colourmusic took their time to craft a great album–imagine that.  Everyone can find something in this album, and odds are, if you listen carefully you’ll find some special moments that you can hold close to your heart.  Let’s thank these guys for that.

Oh, and don’t forget to check them out at this years Fun Fun Fun Fest.

And as an ATH exclusive, we have a new track for you to sample:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/02-put-in-a-little-gas1.mp3]

Download: Colourmusic – Put in a Little Gas [MP3]

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