Fruit cannot thrive without the strength of the tree beneath — a relationship deftly illustrated by Asobi Seksu's precursor to their breakthrough 2006 album Citrus.
Here, the group embraces the influence of Swervedriver, Ride and their swirly compatriots. Yet rather than swamping a track like “Sooner” with sounds that merely ape shoegazers past, the group instead unleash their effects sparingly, in pocket bursts, resulting in a sporadic surge of fireworks which punctuate the sweetness of Yuki Chikudate's bilingual vocals.
The group's sheer vibrancy, as well as their eagerness to take a few risks, overshadows any traces of debut rawness. Hence the nonchalance with which a curiosity like “Asobi Masho” can be inserted into the proceedings; the song burns brightly to a rapid conclusion with a combination of squealing guitar noise and rhythmic chanting. Further, more sustained, manipulations of harmony and discord can be found on “It's Too Late,” which summons a soundscape that's often as loud as it is luscious.
With a willingness to absorb inspiration without becoming overly derivative, and possessing the melodic sensibilities to propel “I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me” into blissful meltdown, Asobi Seksu establishes itself as far more than a Citrus seedling.