It's not for nothing that this legendary Japanese four-piece, which is largely ignored in its home country, gets greeted with hysterical, slack-jawed enthusiasm by its American and European fans when it tours every two or three years. Melt-Banana gets tagged as noise, punk, hardcore, indie rock, metal, no wave, art rock, etc. But none of those labels by themselves comes close to describing the band's sound. In fact, even imagining all those styles whipped together doesn't work. It's a testament to the uniqueness of the band's vision that it can draw on familiar apsects of those genres yet still sound compellingly fresh. Imagine a cartoon tornado racing across a landscape at breakneck speed while a Minnie Mouse-like character trapped inside of it alternates between cute, high-pitched barks and blood-curdling screeches. Okay, now imagine blast beats, deadly grooving bass, and guitar that sounds like apocalyptic air raid sirens or a video game on the fritz (in the same "how the fuck did he do that?" vein as, say, Tom Morello and Adrian Belew) — and you've still only got half the picture. Simply put, Melt-Banana is a marvel that must be witnessed to be fully understood. Don't miss it.
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