There’s still a lot of whimsy, wonder and sexiness in Brighton, England-based Fujiya & Miyagi’s fourth long player, Ventriloquizzing, but something darker permeates the atmosphere, something provoking a cold sweat. There’s more bite here than these boys have previously proffered.
For starters, Fujiya & Miyagi are now a four-piece band and their electronic indie rock is all the better for it. They still show evidence of being influenced by minimalist, funkified Krautrock (think Faust, Neu!) but now, aided by wunderkind producer/engineer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart and Vetiver), principle songwriters David Best and Steve Lewis further experiment with their sound, allowing some Bob Dylan-esque musings to mingle with their jangle.
Ventriloquizzing’s second track, “Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue” alludes to the cynicism, sarcasm and sex appeal one might expect from Serge Gainsbourg, with an ambient breakbeat tossed in for added zip. A lot of this album will appeal to fans of the Beta Band and the Super Furry Animals and don’t be surprised if Fujiya & Miyagi gain a similar cult status as those bands have accrued.
Quirky playfulness abounds on the album. “Minestrone” seems to be about having soup with Satan, while “Yoyo” has a similarly devilish vibe to it. Perpetually dreamy and literate, Fujiya & Miyagi suck the listener into a pell-mell faux pastiche of electronic and neo-psychedelia soundscapes.
In “Tinsel & Glitter,” one of the strongest tracks on the album, David Best teases, “We could stick our fingers in our ears,” but this is terrible advice. Ventriloquizzing is easily their coolest coup to date, full of booty-grinding hooks, electro-glam posturing, sinister wordplay and sonic reverberations that creep feverishly into their songs, haunting them like glittering ghosts.