Friday, December 14th, 2012

AMNESTY 2012: Perfume – Hurly Burly

We’ve reviewed these guys before, but we’ve never liked them this much…


Iain Mew: The crowning achievement of Perfume (and Nakata) in a year in which I’ve already given them one [10]. For “Hurly Burly” they recreate the meticulous bliss of “Spice”, then Nakata whacks a big beat behind it and drives a melodic Vengabus straight through the middle of it with a catchiness that even has “Pon Pon Pon” beaten. The outro when it seems like the track must be about to finish and instead it just plunges onwards with an even more joyous synth sound is incredible.

Will Adams: Falling in love with Perfume this year was like showing up at a party so awesome that you didn’t even care you came late. Specifically, it’s a party DJ’d by Yasutaka Nakata, who produces some of the most sophisticated dancepop I’ve ever heard. Boasting unfamiliar key changes, exquisitely braided vocal lines, and rich synth layers, his productions were a godsend in a year so intent on proving that dance music and subtlety were irreconcilable. That’s not to downplay the trio’s vocals; A-chan, Nocchi, and Kashiyuka inject a sweetness that transforms their songs into dance music for a state of pure ecstasy. Of their songs I’ve heard so far, “Hurly Burly” is the best manifestation of this. First, because it’s mixed for clubs, with a brief beats — only intro and outro to announce itself to the dancefloor. Second, because the synth lead gives a nod to the Vengaboys’ “We Like to Party,” which is a direct line to my heart. Third, because there are surprises — like that synth’s mounting intensity and the second chorus’ new, more major chord progression — that keep you strapped in for the ride. Fourth, because that chorus is amazing: “Hurly burly PARTY, juicy juicy SWEETIE!” Fifth, because I’ve been dancing to it ever since I heard it in August. What’s your favorite flavor?

Patrick St. Michel: Perfume remain the best music group in Japan not because they are always striving for innovation, but rather because everyone involved in the project have mastered a particular sort of maximalist-pop that nobody else in the country or the world even approaches. “Hurly Burly” seemingly even comments on their devotion to this sound when Perfume sings “nothing changes/it has no reason to.” Yet just because they rarely veer from their electro-loving style doesn’t mean Perfume avoid new touches — “Hurly Burly” is full of great details underneath the (excellent) techno-pop kick. The singing just glides over the tipsy keyboards and drums, and the way one voice trails off into the digital ether on the line “I can feel it” is a lovely touch. Producer Yasutaka Nakata brings his love of how words can sound, fostered while working with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, to “Hurly Burly,” as he places the Japanese sound “yo” next to itself at various points to create an effect that, while not actually about the toy, swings just like it. Also, “juicy juicy sweetie,” which just sounds nice. “Hurly Burly” does enough to strengthen Perfume’s case for best J-Pop group going… but they released the equally as great alcopop drum ‘n’ bass track “Point” too. Here’s hoping nothing changes in 2013.  

Edward Okulicz: Much as I really like J-pop, songs like “Hurly Burly” remind me that I’m not a native listener of it, and there are subtleties and differences between tracks that to me sound similar, and distinctions of quality that I find very hard to articulate or justify. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing subtle about “Hurly Burly” itself, but I can’t help but hear it, and “Spring of Life” as lesser examples of the template that was realised perfectly on Capsule’s “Step on the Floor,” similarly the creation of Yasutaka Nakata. Why I say lesser is that I hear this weird, relatable longing in the otherwise purely danceable Capsule track, whereas this just seems relentless without feeling. That is not to say it is not pleasureable, because it’s nothing if not eager to please, it’s just a little bit overwhelming to an extent that hearing it would probably be injurious to anyone with synaesthesia.

Alfred Soto: An adrift electrobuzzed chorus looking for verses.

Jonathan Bradley: Hurly burly is right; the intertwined synth lines and breezy rhythm suggest too much is going on for a mere pop song to matter much. Perfume’s vocals recede to the background and at times vanish altogether. With this much bustle, the song itself is only a charming distraction.

Ian Mathers: A song that feels relentlessly and wonderfully coloured in big bright blocks of primary colour, where the chorus is great but only slightly more great than the verses, which is a trick one devoutly wishes more pop music could pull off.

Brad Shoup: Someone’s been reading their Macbeth! And listening to their Vengaboys.

Jer Fairall: Latter-day disco graceful yet propulsive enough in its approach for Kylie Minogue to work wonders with, though these particular over sweetened vocals are easy enough on the ears. The thin, beepy Vengaboys synths grate, though.

Katherine St Asaph: Shiny, moody disco for the endless post-apocalyptic dance party awaiting us all. It will be like this

6 Responses to “AMNESTY 2012: Perfume – Hurly Burly”

  1. @Katherine: Thank you so much for that link! This song is made for that, but I’ve been using it with a bunch of other songs already. Thanks to you, I’ve been listening to Robyn’s “Time machine” for the last 12 minutes!

  2. Ahh, I’m so glad you liked this. You’re all invited to a hurly burly party at my place.

  3. but they released the equally as great alcopop drum ‘n’ bass track “Point” too.

    ^ O. Promising.

  4. 2012 was a low-key year in terms of Perfume releases but I got to see them live so it was also the very best year. “Point” is lovely.

  5. yes, “Point” is amazing as well. I’ve also grown quite fond of “Spending All My Time”

  6. In an interview with Perfume, they revealed that Spending All My Time and, by extension, Hurly Burly, were intentional experiments in lyric repetition and minimalism. These are songs that were never intended to find the verse Alfred Soto thought they might be seeking. Apparently, after these tracks were completed, Nakata said he’d finished exploring this idea.