Raw post-punk from Japanese/American group is, almost, compelling.
Dmonstrations, a Southern California/Tokyo post-punk band, tries to carve a place for themselves in the same space as Deerhoof, but end up just sounding like a tribute band. Singer Tetsunori Tawaraya has the freakout thing without the cutesy manga thing; actually, he's also in Japanese punk band 2Up, which released a similarly messy (but slightly harder) CD, Teenage Mondo Trash, earlier this year. But Dmonstrations brings a bit of pop to the formula, only to explode into chaos when just when you're getting comfortable. Even though this music has its complexity, it is of the simplest kind: put a drum rhythm in opposition to the bass, add some screeching guitars, and directionless art-vocal. Fragments of melody strain to get a look in on tracks like "Coelacanth Shower", but are thwarted by Tawaraya's whiny scream. But three tracks prove there's more to the band than posture: "London Machine" alternates chaotic atonality with a slow-played arpeggio riff totally Dmonstrations' own; "I (heart) Night Trrors" effectively conjures a true night terror, with out of tune drones and subtle effects fizzing through the air; and "Polyp" is quite effective at creating this feeling of marching chaos. The messiness is studied, but if the band cleaned up just a little, this difficult disc would have a much wider appeal.