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Half-Speed City: Abenie’s “Metropolis”

Glitz can sound really interesting when parts of the charm feel just off. That’s something rarely — sometimes, but rarely — found in the current crop of smoothed-out rock performing well in Japan’s mainstream. The project Abenie shows how a little bedroom-pop charm can go a long way. “Metropolis” moves at a dazzled-by-the-lights pace, and is accented by relaxed guitar playing and electronic dollops. But it also features MIDI horn effects that recast the shine as something much smaller scale, and Abenie’s vocals similarly move this from booming car anthem to something much more personal. Listen above.