By: Eric G.
Tokyo’s Melt Banana is an acquired taste. Frantic and frenetic barely describe the aural assault of this band. It’s not just a bunch of random noise either- at least not at the core. This music is extremely tight and perfectly executed. The stop/start dynamic is so overused that it is expected. Imagine God Is My Co-Pilot much tighter and faster and less improvisational with a Japanese singer, and you are starting to get the picture. Fourteen songs are barely crammed into thirty-five minutes. The production is worlds better than most of the band’s previous output, which seems to lessen its charm a bit but not to the point of dismissal.
YaSuKo O.’s vocal style is more rhythmic than melodic. She yelps and chirps her way through the bludgeoning attack of bi-polar rhythms and buzzsaw guitars. Her lyrics are a whole other issue. I guess some of the meaning gets lost in the translation, or, maybe, she just uses words for their sound rather than message. Here’s a sample of “Giggle On The Stretcher”: “Spastic pull-up/spicy pull-out/nail up the crack-head/rip up the egg-head/send up the brickbat to the mad hepcat/smash them up/wax way out.”
More linear and cohesive than the Boredoms but less stylistically spastic than Mr. Bungle, Melt Banana combines an experimental aesthetic with the skeleton of punk and an unorthodox use of structure and rhythm. There’s more going on in two minutes of Melt Banana than in most bands’ entire albums.