JPN – Perfume

The Technopop trio return

Following on from 2009’s Triangle album, Perfume return with JPN to continue their domination of the Technopop landscape. Debuting at No. 1 in the Oricon chart (the album sold 227,000 copies in its first week alone) it’s clear that Perfume are still a force to be reckoned with even in the face of the increasingly popular K-Pop acts making inroads to the Japanese music scene.

Perfume are an all-girl trio from Hiroshima that originally debuted in 2001. The outfit currently consists of Yuka Kashino (aka Kashiyuka), Ayano Omoto (Nocchi) and Ayaka Nishiwaki (A-Chan). They signed to major label Tokuma Japan Communications in 2005 and released their debut album Game in 2008. They’ve become incredibly successful on the back of some classic J-Pop singles, including their first hit ‘Polyrhythm’ and follow-ups such as ‘Dream Fighter’, ‘Love The World’ and ‘One Room Disco’.

JPN gathers together four of the outfit’s previous singles including the double A-side releases ‘Laser Beam’/ ‘Kasuka na Kaori’ and ‘Fushizen na Gir’/’Natural ni Koishite’ as well as follow-ups ‘Voice’ and ‘Nee’.

‘Laser Beam’ certainly stands out from the others with its crunchy melody and crisp production, even in it’s album mix incarnation here. That said, ‘Nee’ is no slouch in the tunes department either and ‘Voice’ sounds like YMO dropped by the studio for an improv jam session.

‘Toki no Hari’, one of the new songs for the album, provides a change of pace with a stripped down production and military drum beat. But ‘My Colour’ (one of the longest songs on the album) is classic Perfume with its driving beat and relentless melody.

The album also features new single ‘Spice’, which sees Perfume step down gear a bit for a more mid-tempo effort. ‘Spice’ was also chosen as the theme for the drama series Sengyo Shufu Tantei -Watashi wa Shadow. The single’s B-side track ‘Glitter’ (featured in a commercial for Kirin) is also included on the album (via a seamless segue from ‘Laser Beam’).

The production and songwriting duties are once again handled by capsule’s Yasutaka Nakata – who must be feeling rushed off his feet of late as he’s also behind new J-Pop songstress Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Perfume’s influence is also gaining ground in the West. Their song ‘Polyrhythm’ featured in the soundtrack to the Pixar movie Cars 2 – and the girls were invited to the film’s premiere in Los Angeles last year. As a successful J-Pop act it remains to be seen what lofty heights Perfume may be scaling next.