Album: Color Filter

Silent Way, Pointy
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The Independent Culture

This "electronic pop co-operative" from Tokyo are based around the myriad talents of guitarist, composer (and, apparently, award-winning nuclear physicist) Ryuji Tsuneyoshi. Having worked in Japan since 1996, the band is about to step on to a wider stage with Silent Way, which comes garlanded with praise from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, who considers it a fount of psychedelic feeling. Others may consider its bliss-rock textures closer in mood and content to the Cocteau Twins: vocalist Yuki Nishimura may not have the range or daring of Liz Fraser but there's a comparable depth and slow momentum in the band's layered guitars and keyboards. "Rollercoaster" is something of a misnomer, the track's limpid piano and guitar arrayed with a calm, unhurried grace behind Nishimura's breathy billing and cooing; but "Strange Day" is exactly that, its understated vibrato guitar and wistful organ washed with a gentle shower of rain, to magical effect. The gossamer charm of the Color Filter sound is most readily discernible on the album's only cover, a version of the ballad "Goin' Out of My Head" that's the musical equivalent of being caressed by a thousand feathers. Apart from the brief jazz-rock flourish of the climactic "Endless Word", Silent Way sounds like the chill-out album of the year.