Review: anata wa sukkari tsukarete shimai – Sweetness And Light EP

I am reliably informed by their press release that anata wa sukkari tsukarete shimai is Japanese for “you are completely tired”. Despite this band’s EP encompassing just twenty five minutes of music, listening to it feels like a long battle against hypnosis. That’s not because it’s a hard slog but because the ideas and moods are both exhausting and impossible to ignore. The men to blame are the bizarrely named Gnomefoam, _ and Bunny, who hail from England, Japan and Scotland respectively.

‘Forsake’ makes A.R. Kane’s visionary forays into dreampop look rather tame as some computerised vocals combine with warped effects and a doleful guitar. ‘Cataract’, meanwhile, recalls the distorted atmospheres of teenage prodigy Khonnor but its breakbeat “chorus” is arguably the most commercial thing on offer here. Then beneath the heavily digitised vocals of ‘Bearsuit’ I could hear the distinct words “I put my arms around you” which is the first sign of the sweetness promised in the EP’s title, although its potentially romantic ideas are undermined by a long sequence of seemingly random bleeps.

It is left to the last two tracks to recapture a sense of emotion. The title song revolves around a doomy piano hook and spine-tingling harmonies. Then the end arrives via ‘My Drive’. Once again it’s a queasy macabre journey but one which is quite beautiful in its own twisted little way.

‘Sweetness And Light EP’ is, to say the least, experimental. Yet there are frequent moments of fragile beauty to be treasured from the apparent dissonance and chaos. Overall, it’s another winner from Bearsut Records who seem to have a neverending supply of wayward geniuses on their roster.

Web Sites:
anata wa sukkari tsukarete shimai MySpace
Bearsuit Records Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit, A.R. Kane, Khonnor

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