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Thursday, Sep. 1, 2011
Shinsei Kamattechan "8 Gatsu 32 Nichi e"
Released on Aug. 31, the title of Shinsei Kamattechan's fourth album translates as "To August 32" — a date that doesn't really exist but that we could take as a celebration of the potential of a tomorrow yet to come. And yet this Chiba four-piece haven't really taken any steps into the future with this album: Its sound is much the same as that of their previous two albums, "Tsumanne" and "Minna Shine," both released on the same date last December.
That's not to say they really need to change, mind you. Shinsei Kamattechan are an utterly unique Japanese band, combining the melody of anime-soundtrack pop with a vicious punk spirit, finding fans via a series of unhinged live-streamed monologues by volatile front man Noko, and uncompromising live shows where on-stage breakages have included not only guitars but band members' bones as well.
"8 Gatsu 32 Nichi e" is another mishmash of beautiful piano, warped synth pads and distorted guitars. On some songs, such as "Yugure Memoraiza" ("Twilight Memorizer"), Noko's vocals are pitch-shifted beyond recognition, as though he has sucked down half a balloon's worth of helium before every take. On others, such as the downright nasty "Seifuku Bishounen" ("Uniformed Hunk"), he punctuates his low-register drawl with short ear-piercing screeches.
A couple of songs ("23-sai no Natsuyasumi" and "Shinitai Kisetsu") from debut album "Tomodachi wo Koroshite Made" have been reworked here, with the former appearing in two different variations. It's a weird thing to do, but then again, Shinsei Kamattechan are a weird band, and it's interesting to hear them coat their more anthemic early songs with a lick of slightly more esoteric paint. Tomorrow never comes, but when today is such a blast, who cares about tomorrow anyway?