Asobi Seksu - Acoustic At Olympic Studios

Prior to the famed Olympic Studios finally closing its doors for good in 2008, One Little Indian owner Derek Birkett had one last request. After fifty years of legends treading on the shag-pile (The Beatles, The Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin to name but a few) Derek asked the glorious Asobi Seksu to record an acoustic session before the bulldozers arrived.

Best known for effects-heavy, layered production, the New Yorkers have taken a metaphorical leaf from the soon-to-be-derelict studios and threw everyting into the skip. The songs have been stripped back to their foundations. Where once they would erect walls of sound here they hurl scatter cushions of calm.

It’s a testament to the quality of their songwriting as to how well all the material stands up almost naked. Melodies that were previously hidden under layers of fuzz shine through. When listening to the originals after the acoustic versions these new depths are retained. As a companion piece to their existing body of work it plays the role of Mr Sheen, polishing everything that went before it and breathing a new lease of life into their already buoyant back catalogue.

This also stands confidently on its own as an album. Those not aware of their previous work will still find plenty to enjoy in the ten tracks on offer. They are songs of relaxed joy, chilled yet luxurious sonatas that carry the listener to a better place.

For a band whose name translates from Japanese as “casual sex”, this fumble may well be with a stranger, but there's a roaring fire, an epic rug and a very decent bottle of plonk to help things along.

Overall

7

out of 10

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