Thursday, June 22, 2017

Puffy Ami Yumi - Spike

In the late 90's/early 00's I became infatuated with pop with power - obviously culminating in the formation of the Excessories with Melanie singing - and I searched out modern bands as well as the classic power-pop bands of the 70's. Japan's music scene has been vital and exciting for a number of decades now, specializing in garage, punk and especially pop. Puffy Ami Yumi are a duo (Ami and Yumi) who specialize in harmonies and mix pop culture, pop art and pop music in a Japanese blender and come out with this uniquely rockin' style of new-wave pop.

There are nods to Adam and the Ants in the opening "Boogie Woogie No. 5", super happy 70's radio-pop with synth noodling in "Violet", Redd Kross-ish stompin' r'n'r in "Shut Your Mouth honey", softer 70's radio-friendly disco sounds in "Cosmic Wonder", more heavy guitars (and nice slide work) in the wonderfully titled "Destruction Pancake", hints of T.Rex and other glam-rock combined with 50's r'n'r in "SU-I SU-I" that continues in "SUI SUI" while adding Beach Boys vocal harmonies and Chuck Berry guitar.

"Swimming Pool" sounds like a soundtrack to a disco/soul/funk exploitation film, "Green Apple" incorporates 60's and 70's pop with a bit of Beatles thrown in, gotta love the title of the Beatles-ish ballad "This Is the Song of Sweet Sweet Season When Cherry Garcia Blossoms Bloom" and well as the upbeat summer fun of "Into the Beach". "Puffy's Rule" is more swingin', harmony-drenched, organ-fueled good times, "December" is a slower, piano-led, 60's-ish ballad, while "Love So Pure" (written by Jellyfish's Andy Sturmer, who produced several tracks, as well) is a fantastically catchy piece of pop-rock (and one of the few songs sung in English here), and then the closer "Wild Girls on Circuit" is a bit too much of a dance-number (in an annoying way) for my tastes.

Yes, this is slicker than most pop that I prefer, but these queen of J-Pop produced some amazing sounds and had all of the right influences. Super-fun!