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Friday, May 14, 2010



Soutaiseiriron: "Synchroniciteen"

In a world of information overload,in which we know what the members of our favorite bands had for breakfast thanks to an endless and unwelcome barrage of mundane information on Twitter, Facebook and a million fetid blogs, thank golly for Soutaiseiriron. The Tokyo four-piece's refusal to speak to the media or appear in their album artwork or videos means their music is the main focus, with a thrilling air of mystery.

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With its delicate melodies and fragile guitar lines, "Synchroniciteen" could be best described as "tiny pop," a warm and atmospheric little world into which you'll want to cocoon yourself forever. Stylistically it falls somewhere between the band's two previous records — the uptempo tunes of 2007's "Shifonshugi" minialbum and the sublime production of last year's "Haifai Shinsho."

On the Smithsy "Miss Parallel World," singer Etsuko Yakushimaru repeats the title like a broken record before guitarist Seiichi Nagai cranks out one of his uniquely weird riffs over a jazzy kinetic bassline; "(Koi wa) Hyakunen Sensou" ("(Love is) Hundred Years' War") buzzes with a China-doll refrain, as the cutesy tone in Yakushimaru's helium voice is replaced with the crushing melancholy that was present for most of "Haifai Shinsho". "Jinkou Eisei" ("Man-made Satellite") and "Ki ni Naru Ano Musume" ("That Girl On My Mind"), meanwhile, have Yakushimaru ditching her laid-back style to amplify the urgency.

The album is also peppered with twisted lyrics. As its title darkly hints, "Peperoncino Candy" tells of a respectable young lady with a spicy streak, while "My Heart Hard Pinch" has Yakushimaru playfully conjugating syllables to charming effect. And just as the hidden depths of Soutaiseiriron's previous outings made them so rich and rewarding, you can bet that "Synchroniciteen" will monopolize your ears for months to come. Let it.

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