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Gorgeous

Ni Hao

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Album Review

Opening with the generic Chinese style riffage of "Laila" and immediately launching into a frantic dash through the new wave yelps of "Life Saving," the exuberant, overlapping counting of "Night Escape," and the madcap punk-meets-doo wop of "3.2.1.0! Explosion," Kyoto all-girl experimental trio Ni Hao make clear that they are coming out of the traps all guns blazing, and there is no let up from there until the memorable cover version of the Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio?" that caps the album's 20 tracks. The defining aspects of Ni Hao's sound are the distinctive twin bass with no guitar setup combined with the counterpoint-heavy, rapid-fire vocals from all three members, with each often taking a single syllable to create a dizzying whirlwind of cheerful, usually nonsensical, girly squeaks. The album has a sparse sound that lends itself well to the lo-fi aesthetic of Ni Hao's style, drawing out the very different sounds of the two bass guitars and Reo's perky drumming. Most songs are short — usually between one and two minutes, but sometimes shorter — and none are conventionally structured, serving more as receptacles for ideas and fragments of melody than standard pop songs. Nevertheless, on their own eccentric terms, the tracks remain accessible, with the fractured dynamics and frequent, rapid changes of direction giving Gorgeous a hyperactive energy of its own.

Biography

Formed: 2007 in Orange County, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Japanese all-girl experimental punk band Ni Hao formed in Kyoto where the three initial members, twin bassists Yukari and Ariko, and drummer Reo, were at university, releasing their first homemade cassettes in 2000. The band carved a distinctive visual image for themselves, with each member adopting a color-coded stage name (Yukari Blue, Ariko Red, and Reo Green) and dressing accordingly when playing live. From the start, their sound drew comparisons with fellow Kansai experimentalists OOIOO, who...
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