Tuesday, July 04, 2006

album review: PUFFY AMIYUMI "Splurge"

Is it possible to have a Cartoon Network series about you and still be taken seriously as legitimate rockers? Puffy AmiYumi are taking that dare this Summer with the release of their fifth U.S. album, Splurge, out on Tofu Records in a few weeks.

If you only know Puffy from your kids' TiVo menu, you'd think that they were a brightly colored product of an anime cartoonist's imagination. Fact is, they've been around as musicians for ten years, formed as sort of an anti-J-pop group, and way more Ramones than Pink Lady.

Splurge is fourteen tracks of totally fun punky-pop chock full of hooks, guitars, and bouncy groove, most of which would sound right at home on Indie or Top-40 radio, if either format actually existed anymore. Collaborations from Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion), Dexter Holland (the Offspring), Butch Walker, and long-time cohort Andy Strumer (Jellyfish) give the album just enough American flair to warrant chart success on both sides of the Pacific.

The U.S. version also contains an additional two remixes of "Puffy classics", U-ichi's FICKLE remix of "Friends Forever" and Tofu labelmates POLYSICS' mix of "Teen Titans Theme".

I can tell you from first hand experience that Puffy live is well worth the door fee. The girls are used to playing arenas in Japan, so when they play smaller rooms over here, it's like getting hit with a super dose of "Rock Show". Their band is crazy tight and seriously rockin', and the crowds here are a great mix of hipsters, Japanese fangirls & boys, and skeptical scenesters, all of whom end up pogoing like it's 1979 three or four songs into the set. You will not be disappointed.

Splurge! Splurge! Splurge! tour dates:

July 8 Philadelphia, PA Theater of the Living Arts
July 9 Washington DC 9:30 Club
July 11 New York City World Financial Center (FREE!)
July 12 Boston, MA Avalon Ballroom
July 14 Cincinnati, OH Bogart's
July 15 Chicago, IL Vic Theater
July 18 Detroit, MI St. Andrew's Hall
July 19 Cleveland, OH House of Blues

Puffy AmiYumi - "Nice Buddy" mp3 buy

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