Remember the 220.127.116.11’s? They were the house band at the House of Blue Leaves who set the scene for the epic showdown at the centre of Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 1. They played a kind of messy garage rock that was immensely catchy; certainly the track Woohoo got its fair share of airtime well after the movie was released, boring into your head with it’s incessant vocal and twelve-bar blues structure.
It’s easy to forget how well the Japanese do rock and roll. The Kyarys and Babymetals paint a colorful and bombastic image of the Japanese music scene, and in a country where the chart toppers are more often than not merely extensions of manga character franchises it’s refreshing to be reminded of the more ‘old-fashioned’ musical outfits making a splash. After all, Japan is a country full of sub-cultures and niche obsessives. Listening to The Insect Kids (昆虫キッズ) you cannot help being reminded of this fact.
The sound is surf pop, they are set up like Sonic Youth and The Pumpkins and they apply a scratchy, almost shoegaze style to their songs, but with a seemingly brighter, jangly tone. The vocals are delightfully off kilter and off tune in places but are held together by some nice duelling guitar moments, alongside a rhythm section comprised of an excitable but skilled drummer and a Japanese D’Arcy facsimile on bass.
Here’s the video for WIDE, a track from their new EP entitled TOPIA, the album art for which consists of some childish scrawls that perfectly sums up their lovable sound.