Now on their fourth album, Fujiya and Miyagi’s modus operandi is pretty established by now. Whispered vocals, repetition, synths and beats are the order of the day. Ventriloquizzing, unfortunately, fails to deliver anything more substantial than previous albums.
Forget trying to recall any specific tracks after listening to Ventriloquizzing, its distinct lack of memorable songs will more than likely leave you feeling bewildered and slightly vexed. Much of the problem lies with the lifeless voice of the band’s singer David Best. His consistently breathy vocals are a thorn in the otherwise adequate side of Fujiya & Miyagi. It’s as if someone has Best at gunpoint and is demanding that he performs his most accurate Stuart Murdoch impression, a task which he completes poorly.
Just take ‘Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue’. The stolid and repetitive lyrics “I’ll beat you black, I’ll beat you blue” seem to just stumble out of Best’s mouth without the slightest bit of conviction. If someone like Nick Cave were to express his desire to beat you black and blue most people would probably turn off their stereo and go on a quick holiday. Whereas coming from David Best it just seems stoic. The song’s intro may cause your ears to perk up but they’ll soon droop to a sagging lull due to a tedious backing track and wholly uninspired lyrics.
It’s a problem that repeats itself through Ventriloquizzing. Each song starts with a gentle but enticing intro and is shortly followed by a catchy bass line, yet by the time everything is in full swing you’re already hovering over the ‘next track’ button. Tracks like ‘Tinsel and Glitter’ and ‘Minestrone’ are perfect examples of the band’s strong intro and weak delivery policy. Perhaps a more apt title for the album would be Appetisers seeing as the listener is given a quick taste of something flavourful but is ultimately denied any main course.