PippikkippippiP in USA
Polysics burst out of Japan out into the world in the 1990s only to basically go unnoticed in the USA. It seems those who see them in concert love them, but they play very few shows outside Japan so it's a little difficult to go see them if you're in, say, the midwest. For this reason, and to also make a quick buck, Sick Video released Polysics: PippikkippippiP in USA for your enjoyment. At the moment, it's being sold by the manufacturer on eBay as well as at concerts, the Sick Web site, as of this review, has no mention of it. It's being published in both the USA and Japan, so the Japanese can see what America thinks of their band. And by America, I of course mean a bunch of teenage hipsters.
|3.||Go Ahead Now!|
|4.||Kaja Kaja Goo|
|6.||New Wave Jacket|
|8.||Three O Three O Man|
|11.||Peach Pie on the Beach|
The program is a pretty straightforward "live show" DVD. There are no extras of any sort, so what you get is a roughly 40 minute look into what an American live show is like, and having been to two of them myself, I can say the show on this disc is pretty close to being there. Except you aren't drenched in what you hope is your own sweat, and you can still hear things after it's all over. Oh, and there are no opening acts.
The disc has 11 songs, 5 of which aren't on either of the two US compact disc releases and 1 of which is not live. So for fans of the band, this is a required purchase merely to see their cover of "My Sharona" and their own original and truly great "Kaja Kaja Goo." "Good" is a cover of a Plastics song... I hesitate to say "obscure Plastics song" because pretty much all of them are obscure to American ears, and the rest seem to be their own originals.
In addition to watching the band play, you're treated to-- and I use the phrase loosely-- short interviews and comments from people telling you just how much they like the band. Odds are that if you're watching this DVD, you're already sold on the band and someone else informing you of the quantity of ass that they may or may not kick will not increase or decrease your enjoyment of this disc. For a promo reel, though, this is a great disc, and I can totally see them using it to show bigger record labels the band, or to give Japanese fans a sense of how America reacted to the Polysics. For people like me, who border on feeling like an old fart when going to a concert, this seems a bit much and I'd rather have seen another song or more delightfully dubbed interview footage with the band.
The program itself is a real oddity, with new original footage of-- I presume-- the Sick Video staff doing things like eating cereal inserted between shots of the live show. If you've ever seen Devo's old music videos, this is pretty much the exact same kind of thing they used to do, and if you know anything about the Polysics you know that they love Devo. I found an article online that interviews Hiro, the band's singer and frontman, and he was asked about his influences. "Devo," he answered, "just Devo." It really shows in their music, which is filled with all sorts of blips and screams and other noises just like the very early Devo songs. If you've heard the Devo Hardcore albums, the Polysics tend to sound like an outgrowth of those.
If you buy the disc, take note that the front package art is pixellated, the keep case isn't shrinkwrapped, and the overall package feels like a bootleg. Of course, it isn't one, it just has that look and feel. The live footage of the concerts in the DVD were shot between September 17 and October 2 in 2003, and the band's costumes are pretty much the same as they appeared live in the USA in early 2004. If you've seen the cover to "Kaja Kaja Goo," an EP of their so far released only in Japan, that's what they look like. (It's very Devo.)
If you were lucky enough to see Spoozys or another New Wave-influenced Japanese band, odds are you'll want to see this. For the money, it's a neat document and something nice to have given how little the band has released in North America. If you have the means and are a fan of the group, be sure to get this. If you've never heard of the Polysics, Plastics, Spoozys, or Devo, stay very far away from this. The high-energy rock and New Wavey influences will probably come off as grating if this already isn't something you enjoy.
Finally, there's the issue of the title. The very long, unpronouncable title. "PippikkippippiP" is what the girls shout out in the song "Peach Pie on the Beach" and, as far as I know, it's gibberish. Then again, it might be Japanese, and if it is, you may now revel in our ignorance.
March 22, 2004