I have always wondered what it would be like to hear music and see colors. And I don’t mean like a bad mushroom experience … I mean like a good one! (Just kidding). But honestly, it is, well, magical.
Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna could be considered members of that genre we call shoegaze or dreampop. There is a female singer with heady vocals, multiple layers of guitars, synthesizers, reverb, and an experimental nature that could appear obviously in a song or not – all of which blend together and linger. Even when you’ve never taken narcotics, the music makes you feel like you have; you think things like, “if we could hear the stars, this is what they would sound like. Stars are so amazing.” And again with the seeing colors.
Creating complex, beautiful music is something that Asobi Seksu do well when they want to. Take the appropriately titled opening song, “Layers”. It is lush and velvety and full. The fact that I got lost in the music doesn’t bother me at all – it propelled me into a universe where stars can talk! (see: narcotics, communication with stars, hallucination). The lack of structure might bother some. Where does the lingering end and the next song begin? I’ve decided that’s not the point.
Please just believe me when I say that the rest of the album is superb. “Layers” isn’t even nearly my favorite song. (“In the Sky”, “Transparence”, “Blind Little Rain” and “Familiar Light” in that order, in case you were wondering.) What these tracks have is not something different but something more. They are melody-driven and yes, pretty catchy. So what do you get when you add more to a lot? Huge, loud and magnificent pieces of music. If you think your senses are up for a challenge, then listen to the album with headphones. It is sometimes as loud as music can get without being just noise.
Verdict: Awesome. If you’re willing to imagine yourself a balloon floating along for the day’s ride, it’s even better.