Fujiya & Miyagi | Lightbulbs
Most Likely To: ensure there is no more pussyfooting around.
Fujiya & Miyagi — who are neither Japanese nor a duo, but are rather a four-piece from Brighton, England — return with their third full-length, Lightbulbs. Lightbulbs should appeal to fans of their previous effort, Transparent Things (2006), as Fujiya & Miyagi continue to join sibilant vocals with non-stop musical movement.
Fujiya & Miyagi do understand that even slower tempos can be infectious with the right rhythmic choices. Even though “Uh” and “Dishwasher” are slower than the snappier “Knickerbocker,” they never lose momentum. “Pussyfooting” succeeds by relying as much on the empty spaces between notes as it does on the notes themselves, which shows that even musical rests create rhythm. “Sore Thumb,” which nicks the bass line from the Talking Heads’ “Life During War Time,” sums up everything that works on Lightbulbs: a propulsive bass line and lyrics that are nonsensical but still singable. These traits are the reason it is impossible to sit still while listening to Lightbulbs.
Unfortunately Lightbulbs is so similar to Transparent Things at times that it leads Fujiya & Miyagi to plagiarize their own sound. As on “Knickerbocker,” when they chant “Vanilla Strawberry” instead of “Fujiya Miyagi” as they do on Transparent Things’ “Ankle Injuries.” Although Fujiya & Miyagi are never afraid of a little repetition, this is still a bit much, as even the cadence of the two songs is interchangeable. Maybe they know this and are just having a little fun. They seem to acknowledge it as the album winds down with the title track. “Lightbulb” features lyrics that play like a motto: “if today is the same as yesterday / tomorrow’ll be the same as today.”