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Puffy AmiYumi | Illustrated History of | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

Puffy AmiYumi

The Illustrated History of Puffy AmiYumi (Bar None)
by Michael McCarthy

This diverse collection gives the listener the impression that duo Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura and their collaborators do not want any of their dissimilar influences to feel neglected. Their songs can be catchy, with choruses that make you want to sing along even if you don't understand a word of Japanese, but they often feel too unfocused, jumping from one style to another quicker than the average punk band jumps from verse to chorus. You'd almost think someone sampled The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Village People, and The Clash, then found a pair of cute Japanese girls to sing over it. Not the worst idea, I suppose, but sometimes it's just too much, the overkill making them come off like a novelty act, which I suppose they are (see Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Puffy, their Japanese TV variety show, and the many toys made in their likeness). And I know having former Jellyfish drummer Andy Sturmer on many of these tracks is a big claim-to-fame for Puffy AmiYumi, but most of these songs sound like they'd have been better served by loops or drum machines. For proof of this, just listen to track six, The Captain Funk Puffy De Samba mix of "Sign Of Love," which is wonderful and perhaps the most focused track in the collection. That's not a critique of his drumming though; it's merely to say that the songs could've use a punched up beat. Here's hoping The Neptunes produce one of their future releases...


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