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Album Review

Has Melt Banana gone electronica? Though this is likely the question fans will be asking themselves during the electronically-oriented, almost Curve-like opening refrains of Cell-Scape, the answer is an emphatic and enthusiastic "no" — they are, in fact, more tightly focused in their remarkably controlled fury than ever. From the grinding opening of "Shield for Your Eyes, A Beast in the Well..." on, this is undoubtedly the Melt Banana that listeners have marveled at for nearly a decade. The only difference between their older material and Cell-Scape is that with their latest effort the band has mastered the art of slowly building the intensity of a song before unleashing a barely contained rage that has come to define their unmistakable sound. If fans question their motives in the opening moments of this release — the joke is most certainly on them, for the middle section of Cell-Scape shows the band's songwriting skills maturing impressively without any sacrifice to intensity or speed. Any band that has been around as long as Melt Banana and possesses such a unique sound needs to mature in some manner lest they risk the boredom of repetition in the eyes of fans, and the manner in which chirping lead squeaker YaSuKo O. and company has couldn't be more satisfying. Their undeniably unique sound is now more relevant than ever, perhaps even more so, resulting in an increasingly infectious sonic assault that will please longtime fans and peak curiosity in the uninitiated.


Formed: 1991 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Japanese noise rock band Melt Banana found more success in the U.S. and the U.K. than in their own country, gaining a small but dedicated fan base among American and European punk rock fans. Although their music sounds noticeably different from any sort of traditional punk, it contains some punk elements: shrieking vocals, overdriven guitars, and one-and-a-half-minute songs. Melt Banana's unique style, however, comes as a result of the distinctly piercing vocals of lead singer Yasuko O., as well...
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Cell-Scape, Melt-Banana
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