Fujiya & Miyagi, ‘Ventriloquizzing’ (Yep Roc)
What’s the difference between “conceptual” and “gimmicky”? On 2006’s Transparent Things, this British group were cheeky assimilators, combining a Can-like percussive pulse and deadpan vocals with enough wit and melodic charm to land them in a beer commercial. Now on Ventriloquizzing, F&M retrench, showing the same tricks over and over, but with no songs like first-album standouts “Collarbone” or “Knickerbocker” to give the static grooves a jolt. What’s more, the vocals are oddly mirthless and noncommittal — it’s the sound of too-clever body-movers merely going through the motions.