Paul Wong
Cast of HBO”s version laughingly discuss Meg Ryan.<br><br>Courtesy of HBO


Matador Records

There”s something about Japanese pop. It”s either brilliant or really completely annoying.

This is certainly true of innovative Japanese artist Cornelius” (a.k.a. Keigo Oyamada) new album Point, which is a long-awaited follow up to his 1998 debut Fantasma. However, Cornelius is more enjoyable than bothersome, most of the time.

Cornelius uses everything in the album, from voice to guitar to vocal tweaks, as rhythm, which is an original technique for a piece of work that is basically reaching to be considered smart pop. The sound is layered and contains much technological texture.

This is not to say that Cornelius doesn”t do his fair share of surging into sweet harmonies in addition to his rhythmic approach, as illustrated on tracks like “Smoke” and “Drop.” Other pretty hip tracks include exotic-sounding “Bird Watching At Inner Forest” and the staccato “Fly.”

Really annoying tracks include the ear-grating “Bug,” the this-computerized-riff-has-gone-on-WAY-too-long “Another View Point” and scratchy, screechy and generally displeasing “I Hate Hate.”

Tracks that should be really annoying but are somehow pulled off because Cornelius are “just that cool” and for that matter, on Matador, are the audiophile”s dream.

Reference songs like “Point of View Point” and “Brazil,” which sounds like a rip-off of Radiohead”s “Fitter Happier” Fred-speak voice, except with pitch control.

When it comes down to it, if you”re a fan of indie, Japanese things, Matador, pseudonyms, texture or any of these in combination, you”ll probably dig Point. Well, most of it, at least.

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