I found myself in a strange country recently. I was there almost by mistake, aimlessly wandering the streets of Tokyo, disoriented, bombarded by so many unfamiliar sights. As if by instinct, I was drawn into a tiny basement rehearsal studio where the muffled sound of something sweet, almost familiar, seeped through the sound insulated room. I stepped inside and watched the whole set –six songs, played at incredible pace, reverberated off every corner.
At least, that’s what it felt like.
That’s the best way I can describe Nengu’s Tuna Body. You might feel like you recognize it from somewhere, but you know that’s not where it came from. Right off the bat, they don’t sound like a typical Japanese math rock band. Generally I think of bands like Low-Pass or Toe as indicative of that kind of sound –rhythmically regular, strongly groovy, but with a lot of individual technicality and clean production. In contrast, Nengu is loud, they’re abrasive, they wail on their instruments, and create a fast-and-jarring wall of sound that’s difficult to escape from once you’re encased in it. Immediately they sound like an American band, inasmuch as the whole album feels rude, like they’ve just showed up unannounced to destroy your eardrums and they’re going to do it with reckless abandon.
Tuna Body gets heavy, for sure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of quietude, particularly exemplified in the ambient closing of the song Hospital Manners, which comes as a moment of brief respite amidst all kinds of chaos.
Possibly the most charming thing about Tuna Body is that its production value, if not live, certainly feels that way. Amps hum during pauses, bass notes rattle the snare, and there are all kinds of weird little surprises in there for the attentive listener. It’s DIY for sure, if you’re into that.
If you need any more convincing, know that I wore out my free bandcamp listens preparing for this write-up and I paid them $8 USD to keep listening. You should do the same, then check out this awesome live video to see these madmen in the flesh.
Instrumental, Heavy, Three-piece, Angularity, Punk, Lo-fi, Disjointed riffs, Noodling, Loud, Shredding
Sounds A Tad Like
Giraffes? Giraffes!, Tera Melos, noumenon, Feuding Fathers
$8 on Bandcamp