LP - $9.00
From their distant homeworld of Planet KeroKero- via Tokyo- eX-Girl returns to earth for another too-close-for-comfort encounter!
This musical missive is a concept album that ponders the conflicts between civilizations and the road that may lead to our extinction. It also rocks! Reminiscent of Japanese avant-noise bands like Melt Banana, Boredoms, OOIOO and the Ruins, eX-Girl spawns unpredictable, genre-twisting gems from sludgy pop to a capella calisthenics to soaring prog rumination.
Produced by avant-noise-guru Hoppy Kamiyama, Endangered Species is a superb introduction to the girls from Planet KeroKero for the uninitiated, and a fitting addition to the pantheon of Japanese noise prog. "Endangered Species" is produced by Hoppy Kamiyama, owner of the God Mountain label, who collaborated with the likes of John Zorn, Otomo Yoshihide, and more! This is their fifth full-length, and is only their second domestic US release. Their first US release is on Ipecac.
"Conventions often make listening to a diverse range of bands and genres possible. If one can conceive of what musical conventions an artist is tapping into, processing the aural information becomes manageable. The point being, when one comes across a band as UNconventional as eX-Girl, one stands up and takes notice. That's not to say that eX-Girl doesn't follow some conventions, rather they manipulate usually recognizable patterns and align seemingly incongruent styles, but emerge triumphantly from it all. The basics of eX-Girl's Endangered Species can only be broken down into a list of parts that paints an incomplete picture: Melodramatic lead vocals, thematic melodies, left-field harmonies, and unusually employed instrumentation. And of course, it would be remiss if I didn't mention the neon body paint and outlandish visual style.
With their prior album, Back to the Mono Kero, eX-Girl took that style to its pinnacle. On their return with Endangered Species (sporting two new members) something had to change, lest the band fall into relying on their own unconventional conventions. Opening with a red herring of sorts, "E-Sa-Ya" possesses a memorable theme that brings a new "accessibility" to their sound. It is the third track, though, "Pretty You Ugly," that announces the band's newest addition to their arsenal: the huge rock riff. Granted, rock riffs are about as unusual as Led Zeppelin fans, but in the context of eX-Girl, it's enough to rekindle anyone's love of guitar. Given their predilection for already bold themes, this new aesthetic pushes the band into ecstatic realms of bombast, particularly on the soft/loud "Resonance."
In the end, their sound may be a bit more user-friendly, but things are still wild enough that a commercial breakthrough is unlikely. Rather, eX-Girl neatly avoids conventionality and have crafted a sound every bit as loud as their much-lauded appearance.
"eX-Girl are a beautiful example of information overload. Jagged 3 part vocal harmonies, adventurous arrangements, and songs that hook you like the sucker that you are. Take all of these treats, wrap it in an ultra-bright technicolor live show with surreal homemade costumes, and you've got the sensation of being strapped in on an out-of-control carnival ride that will leave you standing in line waiting for another turn."
- Mike Patton @ ichosemusic.blogspot.com