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Boom Boom Satellites

Full of Elevating Pleasures

(Tofu; US: 7 Mar 2006; UK: 7 Mar 2006)

Okay, so you have these Boom Boom Satellites guys from Japan. I think they’re kind of brilliant; they do big huge chorusy glam techno rock with hooks for days and soul for weeks and brilliant shiny prog production. But you might not like them, if you like music that’s boring and crappy, so I guess I could understand that.


I could also understand you not liking this if you value “originality” in your music. If that is the case, or if you are a huge nerdy fan of Spiritualized and/or Primal Scream, you might get really upset and not make it past the first three or four tracks here. “Let It All Come Down” sounds like a straight Jason Pierce Spaceman rip, down to the gospel chorus singers; “Moment I Count” sounds like a bonus MBV Arkestra track from Vanishing Point. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to bone up on your 1990s electro-psychedelic-dronerock.) (Yes, I know that sounds kinda gross.)


It’s a bit disconcerting to hear Japanese guys (the band is basically just Michiyuki Kawashima on guitars and vocals and Masayuki Nakano on bass and electronics) in 2006 absolutely NAILING the sound of two huge English bands from 10 years ago, accents and echoey guitars and all. On the other hand, it’s kind of awesome, because a) we’re not going to hear anything better from either of those two bands anytime soon, and b) Boom Boom Satellites slam. Their sound is big and loud and blatant, maybe even bigger and louder and more blatant than the original groups, and they are more concerned with that than with any of your concerns about originality.


Plus, if you make to track five, you will hear plenty of great stuff that doesn’t sound like it’s ripped off from anywhere except maybe Mars, or the future. “Spine”, which opens with a drum vs. scratching battle, sounds like a song torn apart from the very beginning. “Route for Exile” is fake doom-reggae, layers building up on top of each other and then dissolving to reveal an extended spoken-word part about how the dude’s room is all messy.


Then it just gets weirder. “Propeller” rocks so hard that the strange rap-rock verses don’t really sound so strange. “Dive for You”, their big hit in Japan (it was the theme to the 2004 anime movie “Appleseed”), gets into some Linkin Park territory, except without all the emo. And “Echo Tail” makes drum’n'bass-ish jazz drums wed to piano and feedback sound like the best idea ever.


I don’t really have a big sum-up statement here. It’s a great and interesting record that you will like, no matter what your hangups are.

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