In the late 1990s, a bunch of kids in Japan who loved Devo decided to form a band called Polysics. The band, for whatever reason, has yet to find fame in the USA despite putting out some of the most infectious music and most excellent covers of American songs since... well, Devo. While Kaja Kaja Goo has no covers (or for that matter, very little in the way of titles in English) the album is a quick, high-energy shot of sonic thrills. Or something like that.
The disc is short-- roughly 20 minutes-- and as an import, will most likely cost you $20. As such, it's hard to say "hey, go buy this" because this great entry-level disc comes at a hardcore-fan price. But we still think it's worth it.
"Genki Rock ABC!" is a little weak, and the "Miss DONUTS" half of the final track (which is actually two songs for some reason) are the album's relatively weak spots. The former is a fairly hard and loud song that repeats the title a lot. While this is usually what the band does, it's a fairly straightforward hard song that doesn't do anything particularly unique, and as such comes off as weak. "Miss DONUTS" has one of the girls singing a song that sounds a bit more like a J-pop track with a Speak & Spell helping out. It might be really clever, but as it's mostly not in a language that we speak, we don't know.
While those two tracks are weak, the others are most certainly not. "Kaja Kaja Goo" is one of the loudest screamingest wonderful things that your ears will ever meet-- it's a lot of noise and a lot of yelling. While that may sound like a lot of modern American music, there's a lot of electronic sounds in it and unlike most American music, there's a lot of heart in the singing. I don't mean touchy-feely, but it comes off as Hiro, the group's singer, is not phoning it in.
The others are great noisy tracks that fans of the band will love and those looking for some kind of new sound will most likely adore. "Techno Dracula" has a lot of monster-ish riffs and the word "Disco" a lot. Could it be a modern Japanese update of "Monster Mash?" As we suffer from a chronic monolingualism, we don't know-- but we love it. "Three O Three O Three Man" is an assault on the ears with lots of keyboards and electronic goodness. The percussion and speed at which the song travels is nothing short of delightful, and "Rick-OK-sec." (get it?) is mostly instrumental. But good.
While bits and pieces of the Polysics catalog is seeing release in the USA, it's mostly compilations so far. We don't expect to see this disc released stateside, which is a real shame as while some tracks appear elsewhere, "Three O Three O Three" does not. And that's a special kind of awesome. To fans of Polysics (and to a lesser extent, Devo and Servotron) we would advise you to buy this if you're the kind of person that can spend more than $10 on an import EP. We did, and we don't regret it at all-- this is one of our favorite purchases of the year. So if you can get it on sale, or used, do it. It's awesome.
December 23, 2004