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The story of Cibo Matto’s return to the public eye is, thankfully, not one powered by cold, hard cash. Not for these two, the cynical resurrection of a successful youth in front of a high-paying audience — anyone lucky enough to have seen the London show last summer, where the duo played vast swathes of its new album, can attest to that. With the exception of a handful of shows supporting the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, it’s notable that Cibo Matto has chosen to return on the back of a strong new collection, made with the support, and in the bosom, of good friends. Tsunami relief, a passion for creating something new, and what amounts to a family album: You might say that Cibo Matto’s comeback is sponsored entirely by love.

Love is certainly at the heart of the conversation when I chat with Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori shortly after New Year’s. It was always going to be the case, of course — unavoidable when your album is titled “Hotel Valentine” — but they’re clearly over the moon about being back in each other’s company. “This time around,” gushes Honda, “I’m aware of how important Miho is to me; how special our chemistry is. It’s not just coincidence.”

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