Monday, 18 October 2010

Afrirampo - WE ARE UCHU NO KO (Rock Action)

Noise rock, garage rock, Japanoise; call them what it what you want but you would have to be a corpse not to enjoy it. It is the genre of music that was made for the manufacturing of chaotic live performance and there are few bands in the business that encapsulate the spirit that this type of sound demonstrates.

Yes folks, we have recently been handed a new offering from that crazy cauldron of Japanese chaotic musicality that is Afrirampo. However, let us get the sad news out of the way first. Whilst this may be a welcome addition to this groups great repertoire, it may ultimately be their last. As of June, both Oni and Pikachu have decided to hang up their microphones until a ‘higher power’ calls upon them to reunite and blast the crowds away with their psycho-garage antics.

But let us not dwell on this solemn point and turn our attention to the quite fantastic ‘We Are Uchu No Ko’. From the helter-skelter opening track of ‘Miracle Lucky Girls’, you know you have been launched headlong into that crazy world that only Japanese bands of this ilk seem to encapsulate. As a music lover you will know instinctively that this track will be a force to be reckoned with if opening a gig with it. One of the things about Afrirampo’s albums is that you get the live experience in recorded album form, you won’t get to much production, this is raw music and energy.

The beginning to ‘Sore Ga Afrirampo’ may be construed as a nod to The Clash but soon revels in a myriad of sounds and psychobilly melody but it is, like all of the album, very infectious. ‘Tou Zai Nan Boku’ is what it is; an extremely fun balls-out Japanese rock tune meant to be sung along with and would certainly be a staple for any live performance.

Umi’ can certainly be construed as a nod to the rock epics of the past. It is a very interesting change of direction in the album as it shows the diversity of the band. They aren’t just willing to get their rocks off with a random cacophony of sound but can also produce something that flows extremely well with special notice taken to the chord structure and beat.

This thoughtfulness is carried on in ‘Egolo Island’ which continues the tuneful direction that Afrirampo seem to meandering with this album. Just like it’s predecessor, it is fairly lengthly and rather than letting the track go stale, the song has a rocky middle and finishes in the mellow way it began. ‘Whyto’ is wonderful quaint track which one can describe as cute, it acts more as a intermission allowing you time to relax before Afrirampo proceed to ply you with more of their unique energy.

Yah Yah Yeah’ does just as the title would suggest and bring a positive and happy feeling after listening to it. It is another one of those ‘chant-a-long’ tracks that would be completely at home at the end of a gig.

Did I mention that this is a double album? The guessing is that the girls wanted a long goodbye and it certainly is a welcome one. The first track on disc two, ‘Sunwave Dance’ just gives you a distinctly warm feeling when listening to it. Call it clich├ęd if you must but it is definitely a feel-good track. However, you can detect that bittersweet nuance underlying the album as the band knows that this may be their last album and they are both savouring and lamenting this fact to the last note.

The album concludes with what one can only describe as an grand curtain call. ‘Hoshi No Uta’ is separated into 5 parts. The atmosphere that is detected with these tracks is Afrirampo shaking off their shrieking, howling and chaotic image to create something really provoking and sweet to end on.

For those who thought Japanese girls bands like Afrirampo were linear one trick pony’s please, reconsider, and indulge yourself in this album, it certainly brought a smile to me.

Words : Barclay Quarton

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