The Windish Agency House @ ND (501 N IH 35)
Artists: Asobi Seksu
About: The signs in Chris Zane's (The Walkmen, Passion Pit, Tokyo Police Club) studio couldn't have been any clearer: "Don't Overthink It" and one simple word: "BOLD." Or as Asobi Seksu guitarist/singer James Hanna puts it, "This time, our agenda was to not have one at all; to be mellow about the entire process instead of obsessing over everything." Maybe mellow isn't the right word, unless he's comparing the band's fourth proper full-length (Fluorescence) to a coiled-up cobra or unconscious crocodile: temperamental types that are one false move away from striking. After all, "Coming Up" sets the scene by plowing into beehive-like synth lines and warp speed washes of dream-pop that leave you wondering just what the hell is going on. Things don't let up on "Trails," either, as singer/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate sets her immaculate melodies against a barrage of battery-powered chords. Catchy and chaotic to the core, the sky-scraping song pays homage to the pitch-perfect songwriting of the '60s by chartering a yellow submarine to the moon. And when the Brooklyn-based quartet (rounded out by bassist Billy Pavone and drummer Larry Gorman) finally hits the ground, their color-saturated soundscapes don't get dull or cold. They get even brighter, as Fluorescence's many shades shift with each passing song. That includes everything from the expansive/erratic -- and yet, oh-so-poppy -- prog movements of "Leave the Drummer Out There" to the weightless balladry of "Ocean," a track that channels its title with swollen synths and beats that bob and weave through the murkiest waters around. "James likes to get a lot more abstract with the music," says Chikudate, "So Chris (Asobi Seksu's longtime producer) will often try and reign him in." "I like to see how far we can take a song before pulling back a bit," explains Hanna. "Like I'll say that 100 vocal tracks would sound great in a spot where we only need 40." And since Asobi Seksu have spent the past decade refining their bombastic but beautiful blend of hailstorm hooks and fog-shrouded 4AD-isms (including last year's special acoustic album, Rewolf), they knew exactly what to do with all of that restlessness: embrace it.