Dissipated perfume, more like…
Iain Mew: There was a period in late 2012 and early 2013 when Yasutaka Nakata had running three distinct acts all sussed out. Electronic and mood experiments to Capsule, other fun experiments to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Perfume to perfect his precision pop designs, all three on top form. Since then, though, keeping up with the demanding schedules of the latter two has seemed a struggle, resulting in a series of flawed singles. “Cling Cling” brings the different strands back together, a gleaming Perfume dance track injected with enough of the playfulness of the best Kyary songs to sound fresh. It’s there in the “Invader Invader”-style bursts of plastic dubstep and in a freewheeling melody with an echo of “Pon Pon Pon”. It makes the dance floor sound like a fun place to be again, even as the group keep the poise and emotional force too.
Will Adams: Perfume can always be relied on for polished, maximalist dancepop with killer production from Nakata and wonderfully braided vocals from the trio. But “Cling Cling” stops there, offering an OK “Pon Pon Pon”-esque chorus that nonetheless misses the ebullience of their past singles.
Alfred Soto: I want to like this group, but to date I’ve heard little rhythmic or harmonic variation. The enthusiasm feels rehearsed.
Edward Okulicz: Can’t unhear it as “cloying, cloying,” sorry. Hyper-maximalist pop is great, but there’s something aggravatingly twee about this chorus that feels like nails on a chalkboard.
Katherine St Asaph: Synth throbs! Handclaps! Clinging to chests! So why does this sound so sad?
Brad Shoup: This sounds like a prog interlude, wherein Perfume introduce you to a new theme. It doesn’t have that burble, or that interplay between man and machine, that makes their work so magickal.
Patrick St. Michel: It’s easy to think that producer Yasutaka Nakata has been phoning it in a bit with Perfume — he’s practically admitted as much dating back to 2011, and he seems way more excited working with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who he’s constantly photographed with and DJs with, and indulging his own ideas with Capsule. Perfume’s singles, accordingly, have tended to follow a bubbly, bright template for a while, recently spiked with EDM. They are never going to be the thrilling, game-changing force they were in 2007, but nothing wrong with releasing a steady stream of catchy pop numbers like “Cling Cling,” which is basically “VOICE” unraveling at a slower tempo with slight dashes of wub thrown in.