Rainbow Arabia - F.M. Sushi

Rainbow Arabia - F.M. Sushi
Genre: Pop\Rock
Duration: 36:11
Artist: Rainbow Arabia
Album: F.M. Sushi
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Styles: Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Club/Dance

Married duo Rainbow Arabia initially grew their music from a fascination with the more out-there aspects of international sounds, taking inspiration from the Sublime Frequencies label's compilations of rarefied trans-Atlantic underground and merging it with a unique take on '80s dance rhythms. When the duo's first recordings appeared in 2008, their dubby, polyrhythmic pop fit nicely with sample-friendly acts like High Places, Gang Gang Dance, or the Knife, but with more of a gothic past. Second album F.M. Sushi does away almost completely with the tribal drum samples and West African-inspired rhythms and chants of their 2011 debut Boys & Diamonds, opting instead to explore their dancey dark side. Vocalist Tiffany Preston channels Siouxsie Sioux's bleak crowing over muddy synth patterns and an-ever-so-slightly-dubsteppy wobbling bassline on album-opener "River's Edge" and the band dives headfirst into a misty, darkened vibe from there. While there are hints of happiness in the relatively cloudless pop of "He Is Sorcerer," the tinges of sunny melody are locked behind cold 808 rhythms loud in the mix and distant vocals. Tracks like "Math Quiz" and "Three Moons" capture the same haunted neon approach as the Chromatics, with MIDI keyboards replicating a wandering sax solo being the closest vague throwback to Rainbow Arabia's more culturally assimilating past. While their earlier work could be a little bit too vivid and far-reaching, the shift toward colder dance rhythms on F.M. Sushi is a little too colorless and static, with the obnoxious duck-quack synths and slight bongo taps of "Silence Me" being one of the few times the group come close to breaking out of character from the tortured goth caricatures the songs set up for most of the album. While a track or two could be enjoyable, the album as a whole becomes listless and droning, without the songwriting chops to make the individual songs memorable or the dynamics to build any kind of tension. Though not without its moments, F.M. Sushi ends up feeling like a series of flat, samey sketches. While the ominous vibe is spot-on, the overall lack of hooks and power makes the record feel more affected than connective.

Rivers Edge / Rainbow Arabia / Dylan RyanRainbow Arabia3:33
He Is Sorcerer / Rainbow ArabiaRainbow Arabia3:35
Math Quiz / Rainbow ArabiaRainbow Arabia3:47
Lacking Risk / Rainbow ArabiaRainbow Arabia3:28
Thai Iced Tea / Rainbow Arabia / Dylan RyanRainbow Arabia3:03
Three Moons / Rainbow Arabia / Dylan RyanRainbow Arabia3:55
FM Sushi / Rainbow Arabia / Dylan RyanRainbow Arabia3:21
Precreation / Rainbow ArabiaRainbow Arabia3:50
Moments I Had / Rainbow Arabia / Dylan RyanRainbow Arabia4:13
Silence Me / Rainbow ArabiaRainbow Arabia3:26

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