Review: Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits

There are some wonderful bands in and from Japan. But too many of those who make a mark in the western mainstream conform to the western mainstream’s dying genres, offering nothing of their homeland.

We’ve got enough shit metalcore bands, ta very much, so when That’s Not Metal reviewed the third album by Otoboke Beaver recently my ears pricked up and I shoved Itekoma Hits into them. I’m glad I did.

This record is absolutely fucking batshit insane. The Kyoto quartet might appeal, at least a little bit, to fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Shampoo. Yes, you read that correctly.

Itekoma Hits is pure chaos both musically and vocally. It’s entirely unpredictable and infectious and catchy and bonkers and all the better for it. It’s bubblegum pop’s evil alter-ego playing hardcore with The Hives’ gear.

The album’s quality is high from the beginning, and its character is set early. ‘datsu . hikage no onna’ feels positively normal compared to the 13 songs that follow; it’s the anti-anthemic ‘akimahenka’ that really sets the tone.

‘S’il vous plait’ brings groovy lead guitar into the fold and almost resembles what you and I would recognise as a song, but ‘What do you mean you have to talk to me at this late date?’ is a big ball of bass and stop-start strumming that bounces around vocal delivery that could twist blood.

‘Introduce me to your family’ is unorthodox – of course it is – but it might be as close as Itekoma Hits comes to a complete song. Later, ‘Bad luck’ is sticky to the point of being bloody annoying. It’s that kind of album.

The TNM review went big on Otoboke Beaver’s fun factor and that truly is its defining feature, but there’s a snarling, knowing, attitude underpinning it all.

There’s little point in trying to make sense of a record that doesn’t make sense. Itekoma Hits is a tickle attack by a pink hornet the size of a cat. It’s the My Little Pony Grand National.

It’s the T-Bird death scene from The Crow, except he’s in an ice cream van with a pot plant between his legs.

From its mathy mayhem to its baffling vocal flourishes, it’s entirely unfathomable and you just have to love it for that.

Itekoma Hits is out now on Damnably.

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Chris Nee
Editor