Review: Melt Banana - Fetch (Out on October 1, 2013)

Melt Banana are from Tokyo, Japan and have been around since around 1992. This is their 7th full length studio release. I'm a little (more than a little) late with this one, but let me start off with a gerthy "holy shit." Melt Banana are a great example of genre blending that actually works. I like to simply refer to their music as "avant-garde," but one can easily pick out pieces of grindcore, noise rock, pop, synth-pop, and punk rock. I think that Ichirou Agata has probably got the most hilarious approach to playing guitar I have ever heard or seen, and I truly mean that as a genuine compliment, coming from a guitarist of almost 30 years myself. I can just listen to this stuff all day long. I really have aquired an appreciation over the years for those with an unorthodox approach to playing instruments, specifically when the end result comes out so flawless and beautiful as what Ichirou can do. On a side note, I have yet to track down any of his solo work, but based on what I've heard from Melt Banana and other reviews I have read, I am dying to get my hands on some Agata. I think this all stems from getting into Mr. Bungle when I was 13, but that's another story all together.

Vocalist Yasuko Onuki, again with the completely abnormal approach to vocals/singing, for lack of a better term blows my fucking mind. It honestly took me a little while to get used to this band a few (10 or 11) years back when I first heard of them, mostly due to her vocal delivery, but now that I'm "used to it" and have a better understanding of this band, I think she's brilliant. Now that I think about it, I have yet to hear any other vocalist even come close to sounding like her, but really, I don't think there are many people out there that could pull it off like she does. I don't know, I just really get a kick out of this band.

It has been six years since these guys have put any music out, the last release being "Bambi's Dilemma" back in 2007. I have learned that Yasuko and Ichirou have been performing live as a duo since last year, and have opted to also record "Fetch" as a duo. I'm not sure exactly who is programming what in regard to the drums, bass and sampling, but I could see someone with an untrained ear being surprised to find out only the vocals and guitar are "organic." I seem to like everything I have heard from Melt Banana thus far, but I must say, Fetch is really really good. It sounds really good in the car too, which is good for extra points in my book. I got this one late, it's been out for a couple of months, so do yourself a favor if you're feeling adventurous (to those who have never heard this band) and check this record out.


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