January 24, 2002

Test Spins: Chiyoko

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Young Chiyoko Yoshida is not your average singer/ songwriter. After gaining cred by appearing on albums by indie luminaries June of 44 and Modest Mouse, her debut album shows why these bands were attracted to her casually sexy vocals in the first place. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Chiyoko has producer Brian Deck (the man responsible for Modest Mouse’s superb Moon & Antarctica) behind the boards — Deck may be the only man capable of creating a lush, shimmering sound without making it slick or commercial.

Indeed, these eight songs are graced by multiple layers of strings, guitar, keyboards, and drums — all deftly juggled by Deck — but the album would still be nothing if it weren’t for Chiyoko herself. The singer’s varied delivery, strong sense of melody, and effortless cool drive along the propulsive “Go On,” as well as more laidback tracks like the fractured “Bed Eyes.”

Cinematic establishes a strong identity for this newcomer. At times, the songs rely too heavily on Deck’s studio wizardy, but otherwise it’s hard to fault Chiyoko for this consistent first record.

Archived article by Ed Howard