The first thing you notice about this album is the title. The second thing is the track listing. te’ have a penchant for naming their albums with twenty-nine characters in their native Japanese script, song titles have thirty. Don’t ask me why. I neither know nor care as the music on this, their fifth long-player, is what matters.
te’ mix elements of post-rock, math rock, post-hardcore, and give those genres a kick in the nuts. If you’re thinking “Do I really need to hear another post-rock band?” then until you’ve heard these guys the answer is in the affirmative. The brilliant but meandering style of acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Rós and Japan’s own Mono is condensed into fiery explosions in the Tokyo sky. Twin guitars battle it out, moving with ease (and barely-contained fervour) from post-metal riffing to searing melodic leads that bring to mind God Is An Astronaut. The fourth track, ‘With the fluctuation of a “string”, is spun a pattern of diversity, so the transient ensemble plays’, features some stunning guitar torture which combines noise with screeching akin to the cries of a distressed theremin. Rarely have I heard guitar effects so cannily constructed and varied over the course of an album – each track has its own sonic palette to draw from.
The rhythm section is sleek and muscular, responding to the constant math rock-inspired twists and turns. In particular, the drumming is sensational with nifty snare-work in the busy style of Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins). Fans of Don Caballero‘s Damon Che will lap this up too.
Although this is tightly focused music there are brief moments of respite and beauty; few and far between, these only add to the intensity when the pedal is floored again for another surge of power. The closing track is the most intensely ferocious example of this power, a one minute-long freakout à la John Zorn’s Naked City.
An album this invigorating and fresh doesn’t come my way as often as I would like, provoking a sensation comparable to the first time I saw German post-metallers Long Distance Calling play live. What a dream gig-pairing these two would make. While waiting indefinitely for that happy event there are four previous albums by te’ in which to immerse myself. I suggest you do the same.
te”s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Te-Japan