Japanese all-girl idol pop trio Perfume's roots go back to 2001 when Kashiyuka (Kashino Yuka), Nocchi (Omoto Ayano), and A~chan (Nishiwaki Ayaka) were brought together in their hometown of Hiroshima. The trio members were only 11 and 12 years old at the time, and their activity was at first limited to their local area; however, their unusual route to pop stardom really began in 2003 when they were introduced to producer Nakata Yasutaka, until then best known as the creative force behind Shibuya-kei-style indie pop unit Capsule. A trio of singles on indie label Bee-Hive Records followed, which combined a cute, fan-friendly image with a sound that drew on elements of anime music, lounge-pop, and 1980s Japanese techno-pop.
Despite the limited chart impact of the group's indie singles, the buzz around Perfume was enough to land them a major-label contract with Tokuma Japan Communications in 2005. Accompanying the change in label was a shift to a slicker, more sci-fi-oriented image and a change in musical style, with Nakata adopting a vocoder-heavy production style strongly influenced by European electro and house, particularly Daft Punk. The 2006 singles and B-sides collection Complete Best was a respectable chart hit and in many ways can be considered the group's debut album, confirming Perfume as both a viable pop group and unlikely darlings among indie scenesters.
Perfume chalked up their first Top Ten hit, "Polyrhythm," in September 2007, which confirmed them as major stars and celebrities. The group's sold-out national tour in 2008 culminated in two shows at Tokyo's famous Budokan concert hall/martial arts venue. When their actual debut album, Game, came out in April 2008, it entered the charts at number one, revealing a further refined version of the template of cute idol pop coupled with the more sophisticated dance music influences that had made them so successful. ~ Ian Martin