Well crafted and dreamy, Hush stands out and avoids cliché.
Transcending the hazy margins of au courant psychedelia, Hush, by atmospheric indie-rock duo Asobi Seksu, stands out as a well-crafted, melodic missive sprung from the depths of a dream-pop gold mine. Eschewing the multilayered production of earlier releases and avoiding traditional pop structures, lead vocalist/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist/vocalist James Hanna display their classical training and dynamic sensibilities. Much more than the sum of their retro elements, the two make magic with sleigh bells and echoing snare drums, which would be cliché in less visionary hands. Although Asobi Seksu are often tagged as shoegaze revivalists, up-tempo tracks such as “Me and Mary” sound more like Altered Images songs you can’t quite sing along with. Chikudate’s airy chirp alternates so quickly between Japanese and English that she may be the most challenging singer to decipher since Liz Fraser. Outshining the current crush of music by fellow Brooklynites who paint a shallower sonic watercolor, Hush will no doubt be remembered fondly long after this year’s swirling neon visions from the borough fade.