Top 20 Releases of 2013: No.9 – Puffyshoes – Puffyshoes

This no-fi duo bade us farewell in 2013 with a typically DIY valedictory statement, releasing an album on a self-titled, self-released double cassette, with slightly different versions of exactly the same track list on each tape. It was made available through the band’s web site and a handful of live performances before the band unhelpfully imploded, sputtering to a close a couple of months before their planned end — but then Puffyshoes were never a band to do something they didn’t feel like out of a sense of mere professionalism.Puffyshoes: Matilda

There’s a contradiction at the heart of Puffyshoes’ music, which at once affects to be confessional and intimate, but at the same time exists in a fantasy world where the band are forever living in a faintly unreal teenage fantasy of dream lovers, infused with the innocence of 60s girl group harmonies and ramshackle 70s punk energy. Puffyshoes fall in love so many times throughout the course of the album and yet for all they they seem to be playing characters, there’s a level at which you suspect they half believe it’s true, and this tension inherent in the illusion that is so alluring that it should be real gives the album its sense of genuinely affecting, fragile yearning. Don’t Wake Me Up, they cry, and they mean it.Puffyshoes: I’m in Love with a Boy from USA

The songwriting follows along lines that will be familiar to anyone who knows the group (or anyone who knows the also recently departed Vivian Girls), but the songwriting is better than anything they’ve so far released, adding an extra tinge of regret to their passing. Tonight is built round a dirty riff straight out of The Creeps’ Down at the Nightclub but overlaying it with honey-sweet harmonies, Why is just the most beautiful, simple, plaintive melody they’ve ever done, while I’m in Love with a Boy from USA and the frankly pretty silly I Wanna be Your Shoe are joyous one-minute bursts of headbanging punk. You can dip into the album anywhere and come out with something equally gorgeous though. Given Puffyshoes penchant for splitting up and reforming on a pretty much biannual basis, don’t bet against them making a comeback at some point in the future, but at the moment that seems unlikely and this album is a jubilant, heartbreaking memorial.Puffyshoes: Goodbye to You

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2 Comments

Filed under Albums, Reviews

2 responses to “Top 20 Releases of 2013: No.9 – Puffyshoes – Puffyshoes

  1. Is there any way to get the last album digitally? they actually sent me their zine and I felt superbad that they paided international shipping.

    • Unfortunately I’m not really in contact with the band anymore so I don’t know. I wouldn’t worry too much about them footing the shipping costs for the zine; weren’t they charging ¥1500 or something crazy like that for it in the first place?

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