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It’s about time. Electronica merchants Fujiya & Miyagi, formed in 2000, have finally come up with a winning formula eight years into their career.
Lauren Murphy, 18 Sep 2008
It’s about time. Electronica merchants Fujiya & Miyagi, formed in 2000, have finally come up with a winning formula eight years into their career - even though they came within touching distance on their 2006 sophomore effort Transparent Things. While that album spawned a number of inconspicuous hits and opened them up to an audience in the States (thanks mainly to a glowing endorsement from Pitchfork) it was an at-times brilliant, but mostly frustratingly inconsistent album.
If they’ve been accused of pilfering too heavily from the likes of Krautrock masters Can and Neu! in the past, it’d be a hollow allegation against Lightbulbs, though. A much more varied record than the Brighton quartet’s previous material, there are shades of soul, Motown and ‘70s funk here, all carried on their distinctive shoulder-shaking, minimalist electro-groove.
It’s simply impossible to stop yourself from moving to the rhythmic beats of ‘Uh’, ‘Sore Thumb’ and ‘Dishwasher’, but there’s a chance to rest your boogying limbs in the form of soothing, cinematic, Air-esque ‘Goosebumps’ and the melancholic title-track. Bonus points are awarded, too, for Knickerbocker’s namechecking of both Hans Christian Andersen and Lena Zavaroni, while lead singer David Best’s barely-arsed/barely-there vocals just add to the atmosphere. How many members of Fujiya & Miyagi does it take to change a lightbulb? Does it matter when their star is burning as brightly as this?
Key Track: ‘Knickerbocker’