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Review: Kishi Bashi's '151a'

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Kishi Bashi
151a
Joyful Noise

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There is no accident in the titling of Kishi Bashi's debut full-length, 151a. It fizzes and sparkles with effervescence of chemical success. 151a is a compound formula, consisting of various elements fusing together into pop success.

The touchstones of Kishi Bashi are many, each having a place within the 151a test tube. "Wonder Woman, Wonder Me" replicates the magical heights of Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson collaboration, including wispy Beach Boys harmonies. "Manchester" is a fluffy reimagining of the bedroom sorrow of Atlas Sound, replacing Bradford Cox's isolation with hopeful 80s pop melodies, strengthened by Bashi's versatile violin bows and plucks. When people seek examples of powerful chamber pop, "Manchester" is certain to occupy Point A. "Chester's Burst Over the Hamptons" co-ops the Vampire Weekend getaways and transforms it into an elegant campfire roundabout before evolving into a synthesized fugue.

Bashi's violin is central to the successes of 151a. Though it adds layers of sophistication to Bashi's disparate ideas, it provides the needed cohesive agent to bring the various elements of 151a into one smooth laboratory potion. One swig of 151a and the world's going to grow a little brighter.

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