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Friday, March 30, 2007

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

RECORDED

Motocompo "Chiptop Lips"


This year marks the 10th anniversary of Tokyo technopop band Motocompo. Along with Polysics, the then-three-piece -- now reduced to a duo -- were co-architects of the Tokyo new-wave revival, updating the synthetic pop sounds of classic '80s bands like The Plastics and Yellow Magic Orchestra for a new generation. "Chiptop Lips," their first full-length album since 2000's "Krackerjack Party," shows that the group has come a long way in the last decade.

The lyrical themes of sex and junk food are still apparent, and there is still a recognizable '80s influence; however, the songwriting and arrangements are more sophisticated, with the more obvious new-wave hero worship now gone. Also, while many current Japanese technopop bands such as Aprils and YMCK take their melodic cues from Shibuya-kei, Motocompo seem more in thrall to recent Western music, with the influence of Daft Punk particularly apparent on songs like "L.A.S.T.T.R.A.I.N" and "The Higher I Fly." Elsewhere, the title track contains the most obvious echoes of the old Motocompo's more minimalist sound and the guitar-driven "Motor Girl" suggests that they've been listening to a lot of Le Tigre. The result is a successful balance of superb production, subtly cynical lyrics and great pop tunes of the simple, catchy kind. Motocompo's "Chiptop Lips" live release party takes place May 12 (7 p.m.) at Ex'realm, Harajuku.



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