September 9, 2009

Hush (Polyvinyl Record Company)

After three studio albums, the duo Yuki Chikudate (lead vocals, organ and synthesizer) and James Hanna (guitar, bass and keyboard) continues to successfully mine a formula that isn’t at all formulaic.

Their new album Hush is sprawling and ethereal in one moment and intensely focused in others. There is the all strings-and-gossamer, piano-tinkling opening to a song, and seemingly out of nowhere comes the skittering electro-bloops, shredding rock guitar and thunderous, evocative drumming by Gunnar Olsen (“Transparence,” “In The Sky”).

Though Chikudate’s wispy, spiraling leads define the emotional texture of the tracks, it is the pull of Hanna’s dryly delivered backgrounds that helps create a mesmerizing sonic tension.

Hush is simultaneously subtle and brash, and the album stands out as an example of technically innovative pop music by a duo who—despite backhanded comparisons to any number of  “shoegazer” bands—actually seems to be enjoying and reveling in their creative process.

More about the band at:

Juba Kalamka is a founding member of the queer hip-hop group Deep Dickollective and creator of the label Sugartruck Recordings.

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