“Trails,” Asobi Seku’s paen to heartbreak and loss, seemed an odd choice for lead single from the band’s 2011 release Fluorescence. The melody threatens to catch, but never quite takes hold.
Still, “Trails” arguably included Yuki Chikudate’s strongest vocal to date. Starting clear and full throated in her lower register, she almost gets brassy before slipping into creaming cooing in the stratosphere.
All of this floats on cloudy atmospherics, anchored to a bedrock of textural guitars that grind a little too politely. It’s as if the guitars are there to remind fans that Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna started out as hardcore “My Bloody Valentine” admirers.
Here Asobi Seksu seems to be going for a majestic slow burner. Except they forgot to light the pilot.