Mesh Key Yura Yura Teikoku : na.ma.shi.bi.re.nz.ma.me.me.ma.i (JAP,rec.2003,pub.2006)***°
Yura Yura Teikoko, since 1989, have released some albums on their private Jigoku label, on Midi Records, for PSF and for Captain Trip Records. Their studio recordings were all recorded at Soichiro Nakamura's (from Japanese psych band White Heaven) Peace studios, with You Ishihara (also from White Heaven) producing.
As an underground psych band, the group developed a certain status inside Japan, and this album of a live recording should show us the group at their peak. I must admit they manage to blend and mix very successfully a few very different styles and approaches which fit well so logically. Where at times some relatively simple and even mellow emotional Japanese pop and indierock songs could be a starting point, the group isn’t at all limited by these expressions. In a rather unique and very controlled way they evolve to faster territories, with a deliberate often multilayered-distorted sound mixing powerrock with an effect of noise and psychedelica. In the introduction of the CD it seemed as if the multilayered music received shortly so much distortion that one could almost hear something like extra fading-the-music-out undertones, -the opposite of effect as overtones, but with an equal out-of-this world effect but much more confusing-. Beside the pop/rock association, the group plays also some of the rawest, smoked forms of hard rock’n roll I’ve heard for a long time, almost like a garagepunk type of rock’n roll, like a slightly burned, smoked ham of pure flesh. Additionally to that the group adds to this some wonderful stoned-making inner psychedelic repetitions. In combination the variety of the group lies in between Japanese pop towards garagepunk, but always with serious psych interests, using fuzzed-out guitar solos and droning freak-outs. Their use of noise distortion I think is extremely well controlled, even beautiful how in the way it is done, because here it becomes not like just disturbing noise but like “loaded energy”. A great idea I heard on “Penetration” is that this song starts with more sing-a-long normal hard driven rock’n roll, then all of a sudden a tape recorder switch stops the music, with a sound of something like a train stopping, and then turns it into heavy & extreme, powerful noise, until it turns back to the song. I also like the Motörhead like bass and speed tension on “Night Creatures”. Last track, “Became a Star” is one of the Japanese pop song tracks, which turns into more heavy popnoise.
I can understand what people like about the group and it must have been weird to (have) witness(ed) this live.
This is limited to 700 copies only.
Note : Yura Yura Teikoku’s bass player Chiyo Kamekawa also plays in another Japanese group, the Stars with Ishihara (formerly White Heaven). Michio Kurihara of Ghost, big fan of the group, appeared also more often as guest second guitarist. Drummer Morihide Sawada joined more recently forces with Marble Sheep, (a group with other formerly member from White Heaven, Ken Matsutanion), on their 2006 German live tour. See a review of this live recording on next review->, a bit further on this page. Mesh Key Yura Yura Teikoku : Sweet Spot (JAP,rec.2005,pub.2007)****'
This is the second album I hear from the group. It is a much more smoothly relaxed album, not really rock, wave, or psych but something new in between, with influences of surf, rock’n roll, avant-garde and perhaps with different more creative ideas from punk just here and there, only for the sounds of it. Often there’s use of a slightly distorted voice, the amplified guitars sound mostly rather relaxed. It is difficult to describe, but the group is highly inventive with relatively simple structures : the tunes of the songs in combination with some sort of invention of new sounds, rhythmically and smooth-mechanically, form their creative song and always instrumentally interesting expressions. These new sounds can be created by bits of electronica (just hear the addition of a part with kazoo kind of sounds, avant-jazz piano, and far-out mellotron sounds on the highly originally structured “it was a robot”, or the fuzzy keyboards on “tako monogatari”,) or on guitar (on “soft death” there is used I think bowed electric guitar), or a handful of distorted percussive ideas (also on “slow death”, or just hear the bombing drum effect on “kantsumae”), often more up tempo compared to the songs. On two tracks we also hear a female vocalist adding some wordless effects. I very much understand why this band is so popular in Japan. Their sound is independent from all scenes while fitting in with all of them. They have their own distinctive voice that has all the necessary qualities to be one of the most original bands around.
Mesh Key We Acediasts : Pre Acediasts (JAP,rec.2001;re.2005)**'