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Posted on September 29th, 2013 (8:19 am) by Laura Gesualdi

SWiiiM’s debut album Cellophane Castle kicks off sounding like it’s going to be a whole lot of in-your-face electronics. However, the album proves it has a lot more depth than bumping bass to it...and quickly. Right off the bat, you can tell that this one man show packs some serious power. Yes, there are a whole lot of synthesizers jammed into one hour of music, but it’s also catchy, fun, and intelligently written.

Kicking off the album is “All My Things” which sounds at first like it might be going in a dubstep direction but that beat gets quickly mixed with bubbly synthesized melodies and intelligent lyrics. Throughout the record, the words of the mastermind behind SWiiiM, Danny Fujikawa, are relatable and intricate. For example, the second track on the album, “Ballad of Prince Harry” is delightfully danceable, but it doesn’t lose any of the intelligence the record boasts of. Relatable with a chorus that shouts “I have the most fun with you when you let go,” it’s constantly upbeat and mixes that with a bit of an alternative sound. Somehow this combination makes something that is perfectly pop.

Fujikawa, who studied music at NYU, has come a long way from his first dabbles in the music industry. A former member of the band Chief, a harmony driven rock and roll quartet, Fujikawa draws some of his inspiration from his days with the band and that becomes immediately clear when listening to the album. “Dying for Love” has more of an alternative sound to it with angsty lyrics typical of any rock and roll ballad.

The album as a whole dips into a lot of emotional territory, the lyrics are masked by synthesizers and and catchy beats but the subject matter borders on depressing at times. An ideal album for those who are looking to dance away their broken hearts, Cellophane Castle is the perfect music to bop around to at a party or to blast when having a contemplative moment alone.

It takes a few listens to fully appreciate the genre bender that this Los Angeles native has become in his first solo endeavor. It can be pleasing to those who favor pop music, but it’s not limited to pop’s restrictions. About halfway through the album, Fujikawa outdoes himself again with “Moon Outshines the Sun.” While the album has slowed up a bit until this point, this song brings a peppy upbeat chorus, perfect for sing-alongs and dance parties alike.

Fujikawa’s ability to mesh together strange sounds into catchy tracks is the perfect complement to his dreamy sounding voice and tortured heartfelt lyrics. On tracks like “Science Girl” and “Soho (After the Weekend)” he once again proves that he is quite the beat master.

The release of the album also coincides with the launch of Lightwave Records and label mates The Delta Mirror. And I must say, SWiiiM has provided the soundtrack for quite a kick-off party. Closing off the album in his typical funky fashion, Fujikawa sings “Why Aren’t We In Love?” over what sounds like some kind of recorder. Perfectly distorted emo music mixed with a bit of synth-soaked pop and a bit of an '80s new wave sound, Cellophane Castle gets it all done.

Track List:
1. All My Things
2. Ballad of Prince Harry
3. Cortexiphan
4. Dying for Love
5. First Republic
6. Golden Ship
7. I Am God
8. King of Venice
9. Moon Outshines the Sun
10. Nowhere to Go
11. Science Girl
12. Soho (After the Weekend)
13. Through the Fire
14. Why Aren’t We in Love

SWiiiM: Cellophane Castle
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

63 / 100
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