Release Date: Nov 10, 2009
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Remix albums might be the new live albums, but over the past few years, "sessions" have also come to prominence as a way for artists to reimagine or repurpose their music in a variety of different scenarios. Things like Daytrotter, La Blogotheque, Black Cab Sessions, "Don't Look Down" and other Pitchfork. tv shows, and AOL Sessions, have become the "MTV Unplugged" for the era of inexpensive digital technology, constantly shifting economic imperatives, and small-but-fervent online publics.
Rewolf is a detour for those accustomed to the shimmering neo-shoegaze of Asobi Seksu’s previous releases. This new release is the result of a brief recording stop at London’s Olympic Studios, undertaken while the band was touring the United Kingdom in 2008. For the Olympic session, Asobi Seksu stripped down its lineup to the pair of vocalist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna, who deliver acoustic-driven reworkings of songs from throughout the band’s career, plus a cover of Hope Sandoval’s “Suzanne”.
For a band like Asobi Seksu, releasing an acoustic album is a curious choice. The band deals in dreamy atmosphere, sanding the grind of My Bloody Valentine down to a beautiful hum. But not even a year after releasing its excellent third album, Hush, the band reimagines some of its best work. On Rewolf, sonic layers are stripped away, replaced by the ringing clarity of Yuki Chikudate's vocals and the warm sway of James Hanna's guitar.
Asobi Seksu's fourth album, Rewolf is another step away from the bright and bubbly dream/shoegaze pop they started off playing on their first two albums. Combining the feather-light vocals of Yuki Chikudate, the alternately shimmering and grinding guitars of James Hanna, and a fine ability to craft songs with both sonic and melodic hooks, the band seemed set to redefine both dream pop and shoegaze for a new generation of the genres' fans. Instead, Asobi Seksu reinvented themselves on Hush, stripping away most of the guitars and replacing them with icy synths and lush arrangements.