Yuji Oniki Tvi

Yuji Oniki’s third album, Tvi, is a truly international effort that bridges the Pacific Ocean, creating something very special indeed. Despite having his name on the front cover, this is very much a group effort, which Oniki’s own three-piece band provides the backbone to. Plus, other Japanese musicians (from bands Rovo and Sekana) helped to flesh out the recordings to a greater degree before the tapes were shipped off to North America for even more attention. The U.S. supporting cast is even more impressive, with Yuji calling upon Guided By Voices’ Doug Gillard and Beulah’s Bill Swan to add their own contributions before getting the whole endeavour mastered by Don C. Tyler (who has also worked with REM, Cake and GBV). Yet Tvi manages to retain the feel of a one-man project, with all the individual contributions coming together into a cohesive record that is very hard not to like. The majority of the songs on Tvi are dominated by jangle-y guitars and piano, making for material that doesn’t sound unlike the Lilac Time did at their peak. It doesn’t even suffer from the weak English lyrics that sometimes haunt Japanese records. Tvi is a low key, understated gem of an album that will easily win you over and still have charm to spare. (Future Farmer)