Bo Ningen: III (Stolen Recordings, 2014)

May 17, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Bo Ningen: III

Bo Ningen: III

This Japanese psych-noise-rock band completely blew me away when I saw them at SXSW. I had no clue what to expect, and they completely tore the place apart. At one point, one of the guitarists came into the crowd and was a few feet away from me and I didn’t even notice because I was rocking out so hard! With such a stage (and crowd) presence, it seems hard for a band like that to really match that excitement on a recording, and sure enough, this album seems a bit more polished and restrained than I remember. Definitely not on the same level of weirdness and unpredictability as the Gezan album we got recently, which is probably one of the craziest albums I’ve ever heard. But what this album does prove is that this band actually knows how to write songs. Really melodic, complex, ecstatic songs, brimming with energy. Don’t expect to be drenched in crazy guitar effects all the time, but there’s plenty of those here. A bit of a dub influence too, including a guest appearance by Roger Robinson of Kevin Martin’s King Midas Sound project. “CC” features Jehnny Beth of Savages, and it the album’s screamiest, most metal track. “Mukaeni Ikenai” is a long, unexpectedly calm and pretty song, similar to the last song on the Gezan album, but this song isn’t quite so slow and heartbreaking. “Maki-Modoshi” is more revved-up, and has some incomprehensible fast mumbling vocals underneath the singing in the second half. “Ogosokana Ao” is a slow ballad with a ticking drum machine and ethereal vocals. Solid album overall, but this is definitely a band that has to be experienced live.

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