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Mellow. That word is so hippie.
And for all the conotations that word may have, it suits the sound and feel of Yuji Oniki’s Orange just fine.
At times channeling Murmur-era R.E.M. or a Valium-induced Dukes of the Stratosphear, Oniki performs the sort of pop music that’s sugary but isn’t, psychelic but not psyched-out, and dreamy but not sleepy.
If anything, Orange sounds like the distant cousin of another album by a Japanese-American, James Iha’s Let It All Come Down.
Orange is a lush production, sporting chiming guitars, echo-y vocals and an ever-distant trumpet hovering in the background. Oniki possesses sharp songwriting chops, laying simple melodies over not-so-simple chord progressions.
“Tokyo Clover,” which opens the album in English and closes it in Japanese, exemplifies Oniki’s muse — a catchy bass hook grounds a series of surreal guitar chords, while Oniki renders a straight-forward melody over the whole subdued mix.