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Desktop Romancer

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Album Review

Japanese techno-pop group Motocompo made their initial break at the crest of a revival of early-'80s new wave and techno-pop sounds, and from the start of opening track "24 Hours Online," it's apparent that Motocompo have absorbed the influence of that era in large quantities. Lead vocalist Chiho's yelps and shrieks on songs like "Candy Pop Corn" and "Drive My Car" (not a cover of the Beatles' classic) in particular resemble the distinctive vocal style of Chica Sato from the Plastics. The lyrics are deceptively perky, often concealing a dry sense of humor beneath the cute exterior, mixing imagery connected with computers, junk food, and sex in a way that would become a recurring motif throughout Motocompo's career. The melodies, while heavily indebted to the group's '80s predecessors, are nevertheless catchy in their own right. "Coming Age" takes a 1960s British Invasion-style melody and a cranked-up, electronic version of the Beatles' "Taxman" bassline and welds them to a hyperactive, Devo-like delivery; meanwhile, "Ski," with its cyclical, repetitive march rhythm, comes across like a demented children's nursery rhyme. These songs sit well next to an energetic cover version of Divine's "You Think You're a Man," whose teasing lyrics fall easily in line with Motocompo's own ironic sense of humor.


Formed: 1996

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Japanese techno-pop revival group Motocompo formed in 1996 as a trio of programmer Usui Nobuya (alias Dr. Usui), vocalist Chiho, and VJ Hisaya. Beginning by selling home-produced cassettes in their neighborhood, the Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji, they attracted some local popularity as purveyors of a sound that recalled classic' 80s Japanese new wave such as the Plastics and P-Model. Motocompo's emergence in the western suburbs of Tokyo coincided with the emergence of fellow new wave revivalists Polysics,...
Full Bio
Desktop Romancer, MOTOCOMPO
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  • $6.93
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: Sep 19, 2001

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