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Their twee robo-tronica on the Krautrock tip is brisk and bright. Their narratives are humorous and nervously jarring. They recorded a dry, icy debut and named it after a Nabokov novel (Transparent Things ).
Welcome to the world of the wily UK trio Fujiya & Miyagi.
So which one is the ampersand? "That'd be Matt [Hainsby, bassist]," says David Best Miyagi to keyboardist Steve Lewis' Fujiya. "Matt quite likes being a symbol," laughs Best. "It makes him feel like Prince." Despite a bit of blaxploitative ambience and Best's use of a cranky falsetto ("I certainly do my best to sing," he jokes), that's where the Purple One's influence ends.
Germany's Can inspires Fujiya & Miyagi's metronomic drive. The spider-webbed swirl of My Bloody Valentine and the jittery chill of Bowie's Low are what give Best a rush. The calculated obviousness of Bowie's lyrics informed Best directly like "Sucker Punch," which is about taking one. "Low is a blueprint, fragmented and deliberate," confirms Best.
"Ankle Injury" talks about walking to school as a child, finding a porn magazine and being a bit scared. So Transparent Things isn't all flat, cold and fearlessly unfussy. Best's finest moment is in "Reeboks in Heaven," a tune dedicated to the memory of his late grandfather, a professor of aerodynamics. The man liked his sneakers.
"We're not just three gray men whispering," says Best.
Sat., July 7, 9 p.m., $10-$12, with SORTED!, Johnny Brenda's 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 866-468-7619, www.johnnybrendas.com.