Tokyo’s Melt-Banana have never given a second thought to what people might call them, although they are certainly aware of the numberless attempts to describe them as no-wave, punk, hardcore, noise, and math rock.
The two-piece’s supra-phonic walls of sounds, most often characterized by AGATA’s demonic, heavily effected guitars and YAKO’s relentless howls, was established a an unstoppable force on the band’s first full-length 1995’s Scratch or Stitch. Today, the album finally sees a physical release via SKiN Graft records.
Rather than going for vinyl, which takes a while to produce and costs a fortune, the band has gone with a “glass-mastered CD,” which, to us, actually sounds pretty cool. Whether it’s the intimidating screech of “Ketchup-Mess” or the odd-time grind of “Rough Dogs have Bumps,” everything certainly sounds as great as it ever did, so get your fix below.
Like we mentioned in the intro, Melt-Banana is most often recognized as a two-piece, but the overall assault of Scratch or Stitch wouldn’t have been quite the same without Rika MM’s bass and Sudoh Toshiaki’s off-the-wall drums. Though the band never lost their touch, there’s a distinctly driven energy to the record, and it’s great to think more people are about to be exposed to such a diverse, yet divisive record.
Also, it just really tickles the mind to think of how recording these songs with Steve Albini must have gone. Certainly his affinity for the deranged made for a good fit, but if there ever was a band that challenged even his palette at the time, Melt-Banana was probably it, especially with songs like “EYE-Q Trader.”
The re-release comes with a cool fold-out poster as well with lyrics and artwork, not that any of that will make it easier for you or your roommates to digest. Oh, and it also features revamped cover art by none other than Mark Fischer himself, the head cheese of SKiN Graft records, so pick one up while you can.
Honestly, we forgot how much we liked this album. We first heard Melt-Banana around 2010 (come on, what was I supposed to do, ask my parents to buy me a copy when it came out at three years old?) when Nick Reinhart mentioned them in an interview, and there were truly no words for the experience. It was some of the fastest, idiosyncratic music to ever hit our tiny eardrums, and we’re just really thankful to experience the record in its entirety so many years later. Check out the band’s website here or send us a much-needed espresso here, because we’ve got a bunch more coming up. Thanks for reading!