ASOBI SEKSU – Hush (2009)

Asobi Seksu - Hush Asobi Seksu is Japanese for “casual sex” – I am now proud to be among the ranks of everyone else ever who has written an Asobi Seksu review. A query: why does this band name always get singled out? True, for us English-speakers, it’s foreign, but foreign does not always equal compelling. There is not, to the best of my knowledge, a shortage of compelling band names of English origin – I cite for this claim a band whom the blog freaks will surely recognize – The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – who, despite their namesake, play chugga-chugga death metal with wacky song titles and uber-serious lyrics, and who practically dare you to mock them in the process; whether or not you do is something that is entirely up to you. Personally, though, I’d save it for Hawthorne Heights.

Anyways, the bigger question is this: why does Asobi Seksu’s name (much like the aforementioned Tapdance Extravaganza) belie the contents of their music? It’s not simple to answer, and given that Asobi Seksu play full-bodied (no pun intended) gossamer pop, it’s worth considering for a moment. If you take the individual components of the name and apply them to the material Asobi Seksu present to us on their third album, Hush, well, it kind works. Hush is, at times, playful (Sing Tomorrow’s Praise) and at times, sensual (the beautiful album-closer Blind Little Rain), but it’s never really both at the same time.

Fortunately, though, Hush is charming enough to get lost in while at the same time avoiding the temptation to smother the listener with overbearing, faux-quirkiness (if you’re unsure what I’m talking about, please listen to Nellie McKay’s debut, Get Away From Me – then you’ll understand). Huh. I guess all that stuff about what’s in a name really does have some weight to it.

Or maybe not.

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