There's nothing better than being a part of something that's happening right now. My superficial preoccupation with discovering the newest, secret-est band is an exercise in self indulgence I’m happy to entertain, especially when it leads me to something as exceptionally unique as Brooklyn’s Asobi Seksu.
Desperately fending off narrow categorization as “shoegaze revivalist dreampop,” Asobi Seksu—“playful sex” in colloquial Japanese—is a straight-up jam band for the indie set. Acid-rimmed, stereophonic keys and beautifully droned vocal harmonies compound into a divine alloy of hippie and hipster; a welcome blast of warmth from New York's frigid post-Strokes alternative rock scene. Singer Yuki Chikudate is the group's dynamic front-pixie, wistfully crooning over James Hanna’s reverb-drenched guitars without ever seeming self-aware. It's the sonic equivalent of getting stoned and watching cartoons.
“We’re trying to be noisy and still write good songs,” Hanna said during a phone interview, basking in the warmth of a myriad shimmering record reviews. “Since this album came out, we’ve had a lot more people interested in us. The shows have been better. Everything’s been better.”
Citrus, Asobi Seksu’s second album, has received significant critical attention since its release in May 2006. In the most conventional sense, it's one of the year's best offerings, bringing indie back to a simpler time and reeling in our collective cynicism. Simultaneously gorgeous, anguished and naive, Citrus, and Asobi Seksu as a whole, is a valentine to those who never lost faith in the power of pop music.