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Album Review

P-Pop-High School finds Peelander-Z continuing to develop their unique brand of Japanese joke-punk-pop, and maybe starting to branch out just a little bit. Fans will immediately recognize and be comforted by the Clash-meets-Ramones-meets-Shonen Knife stylings of "Pho!," "P-Pop-High School," and "Let's Go! Karaoke Party!" ("Don't worry pitch and rhythm/We need your energy"), as well as the only slightly goofy hardcore punk onslaught of tracks like "Super Health" and "Duct Tape" (complete lyrics: "Duct tape/I love you/I need you/I want you/Don't I?"). Those same fans will probably be a bit baffled by "Give Me Your Smile," which is reportedly the band's first attempt at a ballad and a pretty miserable one — it has no detectable melody (which is fine on tunes like "Ninja-High Schooool" but less effective on a love song) and it goes on for over six minutes. "Super Health" comes along immediately afterward and saves the day, and not a moment too soon. Non-fans who are hearing Peelander-Z for the first time may be baffled by all of it, but the band's energy and silly humor are ultimately pretty hard to resist.


Formed: 1998 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Attempting to stand out among your peers when you practice your art in the world of Japanese pop/rock/punk is no mean feat, but New York City-based Peelander-Z has certainly made some serious waves. Blending elements of the Power Rangers, Japanese and American pop culture images, sci-fi, and pro wrestling, Peelander-Z won fans and friends from a wide cross section of the pop audience, appearing on a number of compilations, as well as festivals and conventions. The group, made up of Kengo Hioki (aka...
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