Pizzicato Five - Couples (1987)
P5’s very first LP was a front to back siege on the A&M soft rock sound of the sixties; think Roger Nichols, Burt Bacharach, and the Lovin’ Spoonful. Minus Nomiya Maki's trademark pipes – Mamiko Sasaki does vocal duty here – and Konishi’s usual DJ tricks, they’re almost an entirely different band. More aligned with the Odd Couple theme than with the Shibuya-kei movement that followed, the results could be dangerously corny for some. But for those who played this CD obsessively during their first visit to Japan (raises hand), Couples is less a set of songs and more like a big cozy City Pop soundtrack for Tokyo itself, full of bittersweet breakups, sleepy people, dumpy office clerks in love, and magical connections.