(2009, Thrill Jockey)
RIYL = Gang Gang Dance, Boredoms, Ponytail
I understand that the Boredoms are pretty much experimental psych rock deity, but I have to admit that I have always preferred OOIOO (the band which Boredoms drummer, Yoshimi P-We (yes, that Yoshimi), created after the Boredoms kind of evaporated). And OOIOO absolutely, positively kill it on Armonico Hewa. It appears that as we sneak closer to the year’s end things are only picking up speed. The last couple of months have just been stellar. And now we have Armonico Hewa, the pinnacle achievement in a long line of increasingly awesome albums from OOIOO. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, here are some instructions when listening to Armonico Hewa: (1) Blast this thing loudly! The record is the spiritual successor to Gang Gang Dance’s inscrutable Saint Dyphmna and as such benefits from block party volumes. (2) Make sure you do some face exercises because there is a good chance that you will be smiling all the way through this manic, Japanese glee/funk/psych/rock/+ anything-and-everything-else fest. OOIOO’s musical constructions feel borderline Frankensteinian as lumbering monstrosities ever falling into electrified chaos. Proper descriptions are going to fail me here because OOIOO’s polyrhythmic kaleidoscope is too all encompassing. However, some semi-constants amongst the bliss-inducing rock chaos are beautifully wiry guitars that flex your bones, hollow/hallowed krauty pummeling and thick muscle-upon-muscle bass grooves. Oh, and we can’t leave out the vocals (these too being used solely for instrumental effect). I mean, the vocals! They sound like the opposite of a group exorcism, their vowel heavy chanting made for the purpose of opening up bodies for claiming by ghosts (though, only freakin’ sweet ghosts need apply, like Slimer or something). I’m listening to “Konjo” as I write this and the chirps in the background it sounds as if the band is startling puppies by stepping on their unsuspecting tails. It’s absolute confetti hilarity of Katamari proportions on Armonico Hewa. You can see that the album affects me in a somewhat nonsensical way, so it is probably most appropriate to just leave you with a hearty recommendation, as if you didn’t know.