Tochigi: The Gang East Of The River (Tochigi Records, 2014)

October 23, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Tochigi: The Gang East Of The River

Tochigi: The Gang East Of The River

Self-described “Japanese apartment compact rock” from Seattle. Which means that the 25 songs on this 32-minute album are tightly packed and to-the-point. Some of them are punk-ish, like opener “Dictator”, but others have more of a shambling C86/Pastels vibe. Plenty of the songs cut off very suddenly and awkwardly. In some ways, this reminds me of the great, sadly-defunct Chinese noise-punk duo Pairs, except not as blown out and distorted. Scott And Charlene’s Wedding also comes to mind, for the matter-of-fact tales of mundane city life. Somehow I’m even reminded of the Dead Milkmen on some of the midtempo tracks, at least musically (I’m thinking songs like “The Thing That Only Eats Hippies”), but without overtly jokey lyrics. Like Pink Flag-era Wire and Guided By Voices, Tochigi manages to pack plenty of ideas and even time changes in these short, abstract skewed-pop songs, although these songs aren’t quite as earworm-catchy as their forebears. Still, this is a promising, slightly perplexing, certainly enjoyable effort from a group with an abundance of ideas and no time to waste. Also, bonus points for minute-long apocalypse-sigh “The World Is Coming To And End”, because I always love simple, pretty songs about the end of the world.

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