Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy, music

Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy (weeks three and four)

(Photo credit goes to Japan Live, used with permission)

Just as Pizzicato Five and Flipper’s Guitar started out as full bands before being stripped down to duos, Cibo Matto’s short-lived five-member lineup was likewise reduced back to two when the group returned from hiatus, and Original Love went from four members to just one, advantage Lucy started with five players in its band and ended with two. Not that you’d be able to tell from listening to their music – in both live and studio settings, the duo are surrounded by session players that make sure the group’s sound is as rich as it ever was, even as the songwriting team has been more than halved.

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Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy, music

Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy (week two)

Lucy Van Pelt, having been whittled down from its original five-member lineup to four in the wake of their original bassist’s departure, went through even more changes as the band entered its third year. Signing to EMI and rechristening themselves “advantage Lucy” (a name previously used as the title of their second mini-album), the band were among the last of the golden-age Shibuya-kei acts to successfully make the transition from the indies to a major label – and possibly the most graceful.

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Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy, music

Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy (week one)

(It is incredibly hard to find good pictures of this group, photo from Smashing Mag)

While some of the groups that made up the Shibuya-kei scene of the ’90s had gotten their start in the previous decade (such as previous Spotlight groups Pizzicato Five,¬†Flipper’s Guitar and Original Love), the late ’90s found the genre’s explosion in popularity leading to a whole slew of new artists¬†coming on to the scene. Unlike many of the derivative acts that would come up as the 21st century dawned, these late ’90s performers further diversified an already varied Shibuya-kei musical palette, taking elements from what musicians such as Konishi, Oyamada and Tajima had started and running with them every which way. Yukari Fresh, Cymbals, ROUND TABLE, Fantastic Plastic Machine – some of the most beloved names in Shibuya-kei made their debut in the latter half of the 1990s, including this month’s spotlight group advantage Lucy (although they weren’t always called that!)

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