The new Fujiya & Miyagi album, the aptly titled Lightbulbs, is a typically crackling collection of songs, ‘a pulsing antidote to the ordinary’. Formed in 2000, the electronic duo of David Best (guitars and vocals) and Steve Lewis (synths, beats, programming), have since added bass player Matt Hainsby to the mix (in 2004), and now have an album in their catalogue which is ‘littered with fragmented images, anecdotes from the sublime to the ridiculous, blurry stories that you feel you shouldn’t have overheard’. The guys have given us the inside word on each track from the album, starting with the opener, Knickerbocker: ‘A vibration of words that sound good, touching on lost innocence, child star Lena Zavaroni, the very first tragedy of X Factor-style excess, and the joy of multi-storeyed ice cream sundaes at Woolacombe Bay. Knickerbocker mixes my sister’s and my memories of watching Lena Zavaroni on TV, whilst eating ice cream as children’.
‘It stops, it starts, it stutters with vocal embellishments making a rhythmic home for some funky bass, with everyday time-saving, no beating around the bush, one-liners as shorthand for a romance gone wrong’.
‘Based on the flickering black and white Bresson movie, the perfect stolen metaphor for ideas purloined, with intricate tinkling percussive momentum, a hooky idea with a conscience’.
‘Steel City synths add swathes of texture as we escort a goosebumped couple through a park full of Stella Artois and stale beefburger-addled lowlifes proving that love blossoms between many thorns’.
Rook To Queen’s Pawn Six
‘Loose funk, with a playful guitar rattle, rolling it’s ‘R’s through the story of chess eccentric Bobby Fischer who’s caught in a cold war Bond-esque challenge with computers and a bug in his teeth’.
‘A strutting funk celebration of heroic Viv Stanshall whose Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead has him sounding like Beefheart especially on the psychedelic rumba of the justifiably namechecked Strange Tongues’
‘A cry for non-veg normality, where the most mundane claustrophobic conversations, the creation of chill out compilations and painting the walls magnolia sound like a recipe for disaster’.
‘Any song about synchronised swimmers has to have a pin prick sharp syncopation, a rhythmic anchor behind a series of oh ah uh ahs and a juddering melody line. Just like this’.
‘More tales of difficult harmony. Every broken hearted relationship failure involves splitting the contents of the record, book and video collection, but what about the cat’.
‘An everyday story of odd couples and role reversals punctuated with a synth that sounds like a funereal northern brass band heralding the need to get back into a similar rut. ASAP’.
Hundreds And Thousands
‘To summarise Light Bulbs, a four minute synth-powered wrap-up instrumental where the credits roll and the cast take their plaudits. Let’s return to track one and its theme of ice cream simplicity’.