Monday, June 22, 2009

Up-Tight - The Beginning of The End

"UPTIGHT!!!" sang Tom Yorke in the song "Subterranean Homesick Alien" from the '90s art rock landmark Radiohead's OK Computer. And 12 years later, Japanese psych rock RETURNS! My guess, though, is that it never really went away. I just happened to see this album mentioned a couple places and gave it a listen and there may very well be a shitload of records exactly like this released every year.

Assuming that that isn't actually the case, however, let's just say that Boris and Boredoms are the only two Japanese bands to exist during the past decade. With the former being too willing to explore various metal-oriented stylings and the latter being just too good, it really makes one long for the days when "Japanese psych" meant something that was filthy and rowdy and rough around its moist virginal slit.

Man, I'm talking about the glory days of Fushitsusha, High Rise, Kosukuya, bands listening to Les Rallizes Denudes bootlegs and taking that band's aesthetic and just fucking it up to high heaven! That's what this little 2009 jam is. The red hot production sizzles like all the musicians are waiters at Benihana pressing their faces against the grill while they play their instruments and flip mushrooms all over the damn place, not because they're Japanese, but because the record production, man, it just sizzles, that's why. Or maybe I just think that because of the boss maracas used in opening number "Our Own Portrait," which is a total LSD-chugging Spacemen 3 expedition of trippy freeway grooves and fuzzed out guitar shitting.

So we have an always refreshing "Suicide" remake first, followed by "A Song For Your Pain," which starts off with the kind of slow minor key ballad stylings that made Boris's "Flower, Sun, Rain" such a treat for the ear this past year, and as with that song we are taken through some fairly over the top guitar god heroics. The shortest track on the album and the closest thing to a vocal melody in sight! More or less.

Only four track slots available and are the members of Up-Tight gonna settle for giving you something you've already heard? Not a fucking chance. "The Destruction" starts off with low frequencies bending all over the place, you'd think it was "Macoute" from the Dead C's Future Artists album! Not a fucking chance. This is a song called "The Destruction" by Up-Tight and no one else. Soon enough, you hear some atmospheric clangy noises in the background and the bendy shit settles into a drone that just heaves itself more forcefully as a buildup of percussion carries everything upwards to the highest reaches of free noise nirvana.


The last track might as well be Les Rallizes Denudes' "The Last One." A lurching two chord minor key groove, pummeled into submission with a good chunk of that time taken up by some downright face-melting distortion spewage. Up-Tight chooses to not be so relentless, letting us savor the sluggish, baked atmosphere with some pleasant vocals and a crystal clear delay effect on the guitars... not before the guitarist lets loose and brings the noise during the song's final third! And it RIPS, let me tell you.

Is The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning anything new or groundbreaking? Really, now? Nah. This is definitely a case of a band knowing its psych-rock history and competently paying tribute to said history. Yet the real spice in Up-Tight's delicious stew is how they guide the listener through that history by keeping it all perfectly navigable. 40 minutes, four distinct compositional ideas explored throughout, each one sorted out into its own approachable segment, lingering long enough to give you a satisfying helping but not an upset stomach. If this kind of thing sounds like it's your bag at all, don't be up-tight... that's the band's job! Slip your writhing bloodlust into The Beginning Of The End immediately and satisfy your thirst for noisy Japanese psych bullshit in the year 2009.

Rating: TEN FUCKING STARS (not really, lol... it's pretty good, though. I guess. I enjoyed writing this review.)

Download Link: "Our Own Portrait"... the Spacemenesque rave-up that kicks off our beloved Long Player. Get in a car and drive it all over me!

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