Editors' pick

Fujiya & Miyagi


Editorial Review


Album review: "Ventriloquizzing"

"There is no center of the universe," David Best chants on "Universe," which closes Fujiya & Miyagi's "Ventriloquizzing." It's a curious mantra, since the British quartet spends its entire fourth album tunneling toward the core of something. Each of these chilly, deliberate songs burrows adamantly, with no deviation in pace or course.

That doesn't mean all 11 numbers sound the same. From the robotic title track to the funky "Cat Got Your Tongue," each groove is different, and every one boasts a memorable bass line. The tunes are also embellished with a variety of riffs and outbursts, many produced by squelchy synths. The group knows how to alter the mood without varying the beat.

Although Best's guitar is even less prominent than on earlier albums, his dryly absurd lyrics and half-sung vocals remain at the center of F&M's universe. This is the band's iciest music to date, and songs such as "Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue" are unexpectedly ominous. Yet Best usually keeps his tongue in the vicinity of his cheek, mocking trendy food and drink in "Taiwanese Boots" and recounting how the devil offered him soup in "Minestrone." There's little leeway in F&M's pulse, but lots of play in its songs.

— Mark Jenkins, March 2011