It’s been a long time since a really cool band has come along that introduces a sound that excites and opens up new possibilities. Fujiya & Miyagi is really different, a breath of fresh air and wave of joy.
Their songs are snapshots of real lives and are steeped in vintage music from the likes of Kraftwerk, to deep soul, with wafts of early Human League synth, Floydian Englishness and the throbbing groove of Tom Tom Club, all filtered for modern times. But, Fujiya & Miyagi is a sum of many parts. They don’t sound exactly like anything. Making comparisons can be tedious. Lightbulbs creates a sound of perfectly arranged three-minute chunks of infectious pop music with strange hybrid beats that take the listener through a musical journey.
Fujiya & Miyagi formed in 2000 as an electric duo of David Best (guitars and vocals) and Steve Lewis (synths, beats, programming), and in 2002 they released Electro Karaoke In The Negative Style, which introduced Best’s distinctive vocal whisper. In 2004 Matt Hainsby joined the band as bassist, and in 2006 they released Transparent Things.
Fujiya & Miyagi avoid at all costs lyrical themes that have been done to death. Instead, they use old-style synths to accentuate their observational anecdotes on romantic triumphs and disasters and the world at large. Bassist, Matt Hainsby says, “We recently got a real drummer, Lee Adams, and ditched the drum machine, which had been pretty faithful. We felt, to make it more exciting and to change the sound, but not the style. Lee started the live shows earlier this year.”
The transition from Transparent Things to Lightbulbs was effortless. The new songs started to appear in the live sets. “There isn’t a hard and fast rule to our song writing. David writes all the lyrics and he’ll come across with a structure, chord sequence, and he’s like, ‘here is the chorus let’s hammer it out and get the song together.’ From Transparent Things we had pretty much done everything, we didn’t have that much outside influence in terms of producers. We wanted to keep the same thing, so Steve does a lot of the production. We had this studio; it was a really small room. It was the first time we were back in our hometown, Brighton for a long time.”
Tagged as the one of The Independent’s five to watch, the band is more than excited. “With Transparent Things the album was released and nothing happened for five months, and then it kind of picked up, but it was such a slow build, whereas with Lightbulbs we expected more of an instant response. The two albums make sense side by side, so the reviews work well together.”
Lightbulbs is an exciting 11 track LP littered with fragmented images, stories and a sensation that these guys “get it.” This album is in a niche of its own and well worth adding to your collection.