The name doesn't mean "play sex" for nothing. Singer Yuki's earnest vocals simultaneously tease and cling, rebuff and plead. Guitarist and sometime-vocalist James Hanna (sounding very Kevin Shields-like himself) proves an able foil; throughout the record his anguished, swirling guitar only sweetens Yuki's voice. The band plays this duality with aplomb, sandwiching twee J-pop interstitials between the emotional heavyweights. On songs such as "It's Too Late," the group revisits the timeless discovery that love sucks and that the ties that bind can leave rope burns. Asobi Seksu is rock medicine for dreamers, for loners sitting cross-legged on their beds late at night. Let's hope Asobi Seksu doesn't emulate certain teachers so closely that things fall apart right at the beautiful, earth-shattering moment when it's just hit its stride.
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