Stereo Type A
By: Eric G.
When Cibo Matto released Viva! La Woman almost three and a half years ago, the duo was merely a novelty act playing Casios and rhyming about beef jerkey and other inane foods, but with Stereotype A the band has expanded not only its physical numbers but also its range of styles. This is a major change of pace for fans of the bouncy debut, but the cute factor wore thin pretty quickly. Now the band sounds like a more eclectic Luscious Jackson with smooth melodies and genre hopping beats. The sense of silliness that was so prevalent on Viva! La Woman is played down but still a part of the band’s now muti-faceted charm, especially on “Working For Vacation” and “Sci-Fi Wasabi”- the closest sounding thing to any song on the last record.
Miho Hatori’s voice is soporific with little trace of her former giddiness, and she and Yuka Honda harmonize well. The vocals are very dense with layers and layers of multi-tracking, which is necessary because all of the songs revolve around strong hooks and addictive choruses. The pace is pretty slow, but the texture is very busy with hip hop beats, futuristic synthetics, and elements of jazz and lounge. Metallic guitars even chime in occasionally on “Lint Of Love.” Sean Lennon is now a full time member and adds his smurf on helium sounding vocals as well as a myriad of other instruments. The serious minded attitude of this record seems a bit heavy on the first listen, but Honda’s inventive mixing skills keep things pretty interesting, demanding repeat listens.