Hold My Breath
Listening to this album by Mishima USA, it’s hard to believe that there are only two band members: Arto Payaslian on guitar and vocals and Sean O’Brien on percussion and backing vocals. No bass. Despite this, Mishima USA has more hooks and a better pop sensibility than most full bands.
The album opens with “Twist My Arm,” a track that calls to mind such bands like Pavement or Butterglory. Yet, unlike Pavement, with their cryptic lyrics, Mishima USA documents the travails and emotions of love lost and love found. The second track, “I Suspect,” has some great lyrics and is an excellent kiss off song to a past lover: “You never called me back, I don’t know what’s up with that/I suspect you’re just lame/Wish I could rewind, the times you were on my mind/What a waste, what a shame.”
From that point on, the album gets progressively better. There are moments when this album reminds me a bit of Death Cab For Cutie, but with a wider range of melodies. At other times, I can hear echoes of The Smiths and early R.E.M. reverberate in their music. But the sound is uniquely their own. Guitars that shine, then shimmer and a crisp percussion that carries the melody along. This is pop for rainy afternoons. Drinking chamomile tea and watching the rain roll off the windows in sheets, I can already hear the chorus of “If I Wake Up.” You’re right here, with me•