Monday, February 18, 2008

Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things

Remember that guy from the late ‘70s that claimed disco was dead? You wouldn’t happen to have his phone number, would you? Because after listening to the latest album from Fujiya & Miyagi, I feel inclined to give him a ring to tell him he was wrong.
Although disco arguably has lived on through the influence it has had on many contemporary artists, I can’t say I’ve ever heard an album which owed such a substantial amount of its sound to the genre. Transparent Things, the latest album from Fujiya & Miyagi, has its roots firmly planted in the disco era. A clean guitar is delicately strummed over a fat, groove-laden bass line, which interlocks with simple-yet-effective programmed drumming. Occasionally, a synthesized string arrangement can be heard, and sometimes a keyboard or organ snatches the main melodic duties from the guitar.
What makes this album work is the personality that Fujiya & Miyagi inject into otherwise standard disco tunes. “Cylinders” has a heavy indie pop lean, while “Reeboks in Heaven” showcases a super-funky bass lick that Bootsy Collins would be proud of. The vocals are often whispered, sometimes falsetto, but always entertaining. The lyrics may be nonsensical and/or incoherent at times (in “Collarbone” he proclaims: “trip over my shoelaces/gotta get a new set of shoes/to kick it with me/to kick it with you”) but never lose sight of the all important fun-factor. This album is flat-out danceable. It is the perfect soundtrack to any happenin’ party.
I don’t know exactly why I like this album, but I do. To tell you the truth, I think most disco was and still is horrible. But Fujiya & Miyagi have performed enough trickery here to make me ignore that. This album will take you out of your funk and put you back out on the proverbial dance floor.
Oh, and while you’re out there dancing it up, I’ll try to find that guy’s phone number


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