By: Eric G.
Melt Banana has perfected its simultaneous deconstruction and homage to both punk and noise with a gleefully spasmodic onslaught of some of the fastest riffs ever put to tape. You know what bands sound like when you're dubbing a cassette on high speed? Well, Melt Banana can play that fast- maybe even faster. Doesn't sound like your cup of tea? Your loss. Melt Banana mixes cutesy Japanese imagery with an abrasive and joyous ruckus led by spastic vocals, hilariously random lyrics, and mind-blowing guitar squawks, zips, and squeals.
Melt Banana is certainly not a band you could listen to all the time. It is an aural assault on your brain- the sheer speed and complexity of which is overwhelming. Melt Banana is a cathartic release of energy. You can't jump around your room fast enough to keep up with the cartoonish pandemonium. It isn't just random noise either. Each song is tightly structured, using Western verse, chorus, verse composition. The band messes with these boundaries, of course, maniacally injecting bizarre pace changes and irregular time signatures that would leave the average "math rock" band feeling utterly bewildered and limp.
Are Melt Banana albums interchangeable, then? Good question. No. The band keeps getting tighter and more experimental with every release (if that's possible). Melt Banana makes no pretense about having songs that are going to be sung around the campfire. It's all rhythmically driven. Sure, it takes dozens of listens even to master what's happening, but it is possible to get a Melt Banana song stuck in your head. Yasuko's herky-jerky yelps are the perfect antagonist to Agata's slippery guitar architecture and do repeat often enough to be memorized (if you have the time).
"Teeny Shiny", unsurprisingly, charges by in less than thirty minutes. The dynamic is far from subtle. Agata can make his guitar sound like a buzzsaw, a video game sound effects, a wet hand streaking across glass, or an animal being electrocuted- all with minimal effects. It is redundant to point out how mind boggling-ly tight the rhythm section is. Rika's hands can barely wrap around the bass they're so small, but she could lay most bass players to waste in a matter of seconds.
It is almost impossible to pin a label on this band. Take the Boredoms, The Ruins, God Is My Co-Pilot, the Ramones, some new wave, some chaotic hardcore punk, and some electronic experimentalism, shred it up, and serve it on fire, and you almost can imagine the energy and inventiveness of one Melt Banana song. Does the formula get old? Sure, but what sound doesn't if you listen to it too much? Melt Banana may tire you out faster, but you'll keep coming back for more.