Review by Eugenia Vela.
I believe a lot of people will agree with me when I say, some things are better left alone. Although many buy into that whole “change is good” crap, I’ve always been very attached to the past. There’s comfort in the familiar, there’s nothing wrong with that. When it comes to music, sometimes we do wish bands would deviate towards the unfamiliar, just to see if they can pull it off. In the case of Asobi Seksu and their fourth album, Fluorescence, they’ve decided to stick with what they know they’re great at, and I’m glad to report they’ve made the right choice.
Fluorescence is, more than anything, a ride. A ride of light, a ride of energy and flow that moves smoothly yet thrillingly from start to finish. As a band shoved into the dream pop genre, Asobi Seksu delivers just that—a mix of pop and dreamy excitement in a 12-track collection. You will find that Asobi Seksu is not for everyone, and Fluorescence is the same. While it’s satisfying to find an album that’s comprehensive in its creation but strays away from the commercial, Fluorescence is meant to excite loyal band fans and lovers of the more modern, artsy, experimental pop. For those who prefer that pop be left untouched, Fluorescence will be nothing more than confusing noise vomit.
But let’s set those people aside for a moment.
As a whole, Fluorescence is very cinematic and yes, quite dramatic. Hopefully listeners will find that once pushing play, the album is better appreciated when listening to it completely. The first track, “Coming Up,” starts us off with heavy beats and Yuki Chikudate’s distinctive voice. “Trails” follows with a darker and surprisingly sensual chapter in the album, and then “My Baby” arrives with such cheek and cotton candy flirtiness that somehow remains refreshing instead of nauseating.
There are moments in Fluorescence that could have been perfected with something deeper, such as “Perfectly Crystal” and “Sighs.” But Asobi Seksu dishes it out in “Counterglow” and “In My Head,” two songs which most strongly deliver the cinematic feel of the album. It’s not surprising that throughout the years, we’ve witnessed the power of Asobi Seksu in scenes of TV shows that have distinguished themselves for their realism, such as The L Word and Skins. Fluorescence will provide, once again, material for other creators to include in their work to make it all the more enticing.
And to those people who will find Fluorescence to be noise vomit (and many will), we just have to consider that one of the most important elements of music is that it may fit us perfectly or dissatisfy us to the point in which we feel disconnected from it. Good music is extremist. In a way, this album is noise vomit. But you’ll have an opinion about it, and that’s its biggest achievement.
Listen to “Trails” below:
Rating: 7.5 of 10