Finer Feelings #10: Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things (2006)

What I love about this album is its simplicity.  Yes, all the songs follow pretty much the same formula, but it’s a winning formula that rewards more and more upon repeat listens.  A nagging bassline here, a one-note guitar solo there, Fujiya & Miyagi, a trio at the time, know how to make a groove.  What sets them apart from other overty Kraftwerkian bands is David Best’s delivery of playfully childish yet chillingly elusive lyrics.  At times, it’s hard to tell what he’s even saying, furthering the band’s mysterious nature.  Where most artists sing about their feelings by evoking nature, poetry and heartbreak, F&M mechanically break down about shoelaces (“Collarbone”), metabolism (“Photocopier”) and finding a porno mag on the way to school (“Ankle Injuries”).  All of this is presented so cooly that it’s hard not to wonder how seriously these guys take themselves.  Rather than pondering over that, consider how much fun F&M have on this disc.  First of all, any song with a motorik beat is gold to begin with.  Secondly, the guys don’t even need to add lyrics to their songs to make them stand out, as the textured instrumental “Cassettesingle” is one of the album’s best songs.  Finally, no matter what genre of music you listen to, there are always bands that pad the background by making music that sounds like every other band around.  No, Fujiya & Miyagi didn’t invent krautrock (they’re not German, or Japanese for that matter), but they do an impeccable job of appropriating it for a new generation.  What too many critics forget is that it’s not always necessary to find a new way of doing things.  If you can take something that has already been done and make it even better, then you’re doing a service to everyone.  Fujiya & Miyagi’s next album Lightbulbs certainly had its moments, but it lacks the charm and wit of Transparent Things.  Just try to hold back a smile whenever Best rolls his R’s.  “Professor, do you wear Rrrrreeboks in heaven?”  Yeah.

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~ by E. on November 23, 2009.

One Response to “Finer Feelings #10: Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things (2006)”

  1. Don’t forget the balls it took for them use their own name repeated as a background beat. Brilliant…. and catchy!

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