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  • Compared to debut album Prismic, Japanese pop star and former Judy & Mary frontwoman Yuki's second solo album, Commune, is a more cleanly produced and musically homogenous affair. Retaining her solo debut's mixture of J-Pop with a rocky edge, it nevertheless reins in the quirks that made its predecessor so appealing. This is not to say, however, that Commune is a bad album. Each track contains its fair share of hooks and catchy choruses. The understated "Stand Up! Sister" is an odd choice for a single but grows with each listen, and "Rock'n'Roll Star" is as appealing a ballad as you will find in J-Pop, with more than its fair share of similarities to Judy & Mary's much beloved "Kyoto." Hints of Prismic's playful style remain in the eastern-tinged "Funky Fruits" and a dub reworking of the previous album's "Koibitoyo." Overall, Commune represents a clear solidifying of Yuki's identity as a solo artist as well as her growing maturity as a songwriter; however, it also represents a disappointing shift away from the joyous eclecticism that characterized some of her early solo efforts. ~ Ian Martin
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