Fujiya & Miyagi have been toiling away at a very English interpretation of taut, pared-down funk for over a decade now. ‘Ventriloquizzing’ is their fourth and most sinister album, and would also be their best were it not marred by intrusively clichéd lyrics, in which people are up and down like yo-yos and others throw their hands in the air like they just don’t care. When the lyrics take a back seat, however, ‘Ventriloquizzing’ is wonderfully creeping, with a narrow-eyed slink that’s as aggressive as it is classy. The title track’s heads-on-sticks imagery and skulking synths invokes Stereolab at their coolest, and ‘Cat Got Your Tongue’ has a strut of pleasing oddness that only Radiohead have bettered in recent times. Elsewhere though, the record’s overblown vocals and crushing self-awareness leave an abiding impression of frustrated brilliance.

By Sam Walton

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