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Cactuses Come in Flocks

Melt-Banana

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Album Review

This album conjures up some frightening imagery with the music it contains. A song might start with a fire bell clanging away while the guitar, bass, and drums go in every direction, bringing to mind a grouping of people heading for the emergency exits in a burning building ("F., Pt 1"). Vocalist YaSuKo O. resembles a chipmunk in need of a heavy dose of Ritalin ("Sonic Turtle"), or a chanting cheerleader after she's consumed a full can of coffee ("Up AND down, 1,2,3..."). On many of the tracks, her vocals jump to the ceiling like a frightened cat while the bass churns through deep puddles of untreated sewer water. Melt-Banana's songs are pointy, in a way, because of all the staccato rhythms they use. It's almost like being repeatedly poked in the ribs with a bony finger. Melody doesn't matter, but the percussive aspect of not only the drums, but all instruments, plays a key role. The approach of the bass, vocals, and guitar are very hard and pound on certain beats more than others. Typical song structure doesn't exist as well, with the average song clocking in at roughly 40 seconds. Choruses are missing, and most tracks only consist of a word or phrase that is repeated over and over, like a mantra. Melt-Banana has created a musical approximation of what it's like to file a piece of metal down to a nub using scribbled distortion patterns.

Biography

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...
Full bio
Cactuses Come in Flocks, Melt-Banana
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