Fujiya & Miyagi – Lightbulbs

Originally a duo, England’s Steve Lewis (Fujiya) and David Best (Miyagi) have finally nailed down a line up with Matt Hainsby and Lee Adams joining them on their 3rd studio album Lightbulbs. Hainsby on bass and Adams on drums provides a greater depth to their synth-pop sound. Categorised as alternative electronica, to be honest Fujiya and Miyagi don’t really sound like anything in particular. The influence of Krautrock groups (Kraftwerk, Neu!) is clear, yet lyrics dealing with the everyday and mundane (dishwashers, video games) gives the album a very British feel.

Kicking off with ‘Knickerbocker’, Lightbulbs opens unimpressively on first listen. Being one who doesn’t believe in love at first sight, I generally don’t like anything much on first inspection. No surprises here. It is worth the perseverance however. ‘Goosebumps’ nicely nails the ambient sound of their Krautrock influences. Plus one of my favourite beers is mentioned in the lyrics. ‘Rook to Queen’s Pawn Six’ is a funky tribute to chess champion Bobby Fischer and is one of the coolest song names around. Title track ‘Lightbulbs’ is a love song to the everyday “You change the lightbulbs, sometimes I do the dishes”.

I like very different genres of music but ‘alternative electronica’ was never one of them. I was surprised by this album, and it’s definitely one for the car CD player. Best’s vocals are understated and almost conversational. His delivery reminds me of Bret and Jemaine in an odd way, but obviously this is no comedy album. Fujiya & Miyagi are best described as contagious. And yes, the origin of their name is from The Karate Kid. Lightbulbs is proof there is such a thing as nerd-cool.

3½ spuds.