It’s funny how a soundtrack can resonate so strongly even years after its release, but such is the case with Lost in Translation and me. It remains a beautiful statement of East and West, of heartwarming emotion and urbanized sterility. Asobi Seksu pick up where the contributors to Sofia Coppola’s score left off, minus that cold, impersonal part. With Yuki’s seraphic vocals and James Hanna’s fuzzed guitar in the forefront, the band’s closest touchstone is Split-Lush. While there are moments of bliss, where the crescendo reached is all-encompassing and pleasantly engulfing in a manner only shoegazer music seems to attain, Asobi make themselves interesting in their treks off the beaten path. Hanna takes over vocal duties on “Pink Cloud Tracing Paper.” His delivery is as unhurried as Thurston Moore’s, laconically spreading out between the art-rock urgency of the riffs. This is good but still doesn’t hold a candle to “Strawberries” or “Mizu Asobi,” the two tracks where Yuki sings in her native Japanese and is supported by bouncy ’80s-infused new wave. They retain the heavenly feel of the band’s less terrestrial work, but work on a higher level of palpable exhilaration. It’s music for a film with a happy ending and not an ounce of melancholy to be found.
Friendly Fire Recordings: www.friendlyfirerecordings.com