Aiha Higurashi – A

Flying solo, away from her band Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, Aiha Higurashi’s songwriting remains just as distinctively hers as ever on this new album, even as she takes the occasional detour from sparse, deceptively simple indie rock and spreads her electronic wings on tracks like Child, Song A and Wonk. The air of mournful weariness and ambivalence that Higurashi always seems to carry with her runs through much of the album. “I used to hate you,” she repeats on the opening Seven Seas, her past fury insistently colouring present need as the song hops its fragile way through different melodies, always ready to swing one way or another, a clattering drum pattern both holding down a consistent thread whose very constancy also helps emphasise the sharp turns the song is taking over it. A similar sense of some storm threatening to derail any moment runs through Heat, with a spare arrangement of just thundering drums and minimal guitar driving the song forward and a thunderclap of heavy rock noise striking and rolling for eight seconds before lifting as suddenly as it arrived. The most obvious pop moment is Shining All Over, which is present in two versions, the first as a duet with guest vocalist Gotch, best known as the singer of Asian Kung-Fu Generation, and then again solo to close the album. The album’s indecision over which version to lay its bets on is in many ways part of the dance it makes from the beginning, ricocheting back and forth between love and hate, loneliness and splendid isolation, and in the end, bittersweet, Aiha pared down to A and strictly solo.

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