Yeah I know! I would have gone with "Shark Unite" too! Maybe their concern was that "Shark" isn't a plural noun.
The band Hiretsukan fit right on into that exciting new genre of hardcore/noise/thrash/death/screaming/prog/tight/metal thing that I've been enjoying recently thanks to such fine young bands as the Heidegger Escape Plan, Betch, The Coalescing Band and The Converging Guys. The key to this music is playing very fast, intense and mean yet also making your songs really technically intricate and difficult- sounding - then having some guy scream at the top of his lungs over it.
But Hiretsukan has thrown a twist into the balance! The guy screaming with hate and rage at you is portrayed by a woman! I'm assuming it's a woman anyway. It sounds just like the guys from those other bands I mentioned (the Dickinher Escape Pod, Batch, Coalinga and Converse) but its name is Michelle and on the band's web site, it looks like a girl. But who knows? If I were a member of `60s garage band The Barbarians, I would approach it and sing, "Are you a boy or are you a girl?," but unfortunately we can't all have the luxury of playing alongside legendary hook-handed drummer "Moulty." So all I can do is hope against hope that I'm right and it's a woman. Otherwise this boner means my favorite pitcher is "GAYlord Perry," if you know what I'm saying.
Lyrically, Hiretsukan formed in Maryland in 1998 and moved to NYC, home of Mark Prindle, founder of failed dot.com startup www.markprindle.com. Incidentally the lyrics are sociopolitical, railing against the injustices of supply-side theory (?), forced labor among prisoners (HEY! MY TAX DOLLARS GO TOWARDS THEIR FANCY-SCHMANCY MATTRESSES! THE LEAST THEY CAN DO IS CLEAN GARBAGE OFF THE HIGHWAY UNTIL THEY ALL DIE OF HEAT EXHAUSTION! Signed, Rush Limbaugh), riot police (I think), umm.. drug abuse?, asshole journalists?, child molesters (! I think I got one maybe!) and Metallica (assuming that a fairly straight Metallica cover constitutes a "protest").
Their web site (I'm going to give you fifteen guesses what the url might be) has links to lots of human rights groups, watchdog sites, etc. They are a "socially concerned" band. Which reminds me of some hilarious political jokes I'm about to make up:
Person #1: Why did George W. Bush cross the
Person #2: He doesn't have to answer that question. He's the President!
Man: What do you get when you cross George W. Bush with a
Woman: The same thing you get no matter HOW you cross George W. Bush - imprisonment without trial as a terror suspect!
John Ashcroft who?
John Ashcroft is an asshole!
Cheney: Hey George - the media found out that I was involved in both the
Enron corruption and the dirty dealings of my own former company. How do we get out of
Bush: Oh my god, you're RIGHT! Iraq COULD develop biochemical weapons to be used against the United States!
The G7 Welcoming Committee also recently issued an EP by Randy called Cheater. I was all hoping it would be by my dad, Randy Prindle, but it doesn't sound like him. He doesn't play upbeat punk rock by Germans. I'm reminded of the New Bomb Turks when I listen to this, and that's GOOD! I love the New Bomb Turks! Straight old-style punk rock glee with fast simple guitar chord riffs, the occasional tinkling rock and roll piano/keyboard and a distorted singer singing and shouting like a happy 17-year-old playing a tennis racket in his room as The Kinks' "Come Dancing" blares through the town's air raid system, warning of impending doom at the hands of an entire world that DESPISES us thanks to our leaders' arrogant, short- sighted foreign policies.
I don't want to give the impression that Randy is a political band though! They're not! They just sound like the first Clash album! Pay attention, because two albums from now, they're gonna put out THE album of the 1980s.
As for Randy, they're Swedish, not German! Their older material from the early-mid ninetees is some pretty tight political skate-punk. Their last couple of releases (2001's The Human Atom Bombs and 2003's Welfare Problems) have seen the band moving towards the ever-fashionable garage punk sound popularized by their countrymates The Hives. Swedish rock rules, hurrah!
Hear it suckin'???
No no, I'm simply making a joke at the expense of the band's name. Following a horrible breakup that found Paul suing the rest of the band as well as their financial manager Allan Klein, followed by 35 years of inconsistent solo releases by each member, Hiretsukan has finally swept all the water under the rug and reunited for a debut full-length album. But don't expect the hardcore-speed punk rock of your father's Hiretsukan; they've rejiggered their sound for the midtempoer, treblier and making every song sound the samier generation.
The Japanese have long suspected that "Hiretsukan" means "bastard," but today their beliefs have been proven true by all comers. A 27-minute 'album'? More than half of the songs featuring the same exact medium tempo and high-pitched "JIIIIIIING-a-jinga-JIIIIIIING-a-jinga" minor-key guitar chord strumming? The woman singer screaming almost every word on the exact same note? No song even approaching 400 BPM? Less heavy than a Cat Stevens record? What kind of a-hole would give this album a 7? I wouldn't give this album a kick in the ass for five dollars!
Except for one thing. One delicate, determinable thing ---> Half of the songs are fuckfanningtastic! Tracks I, II, VIII, IX and X are emotionally evocative and heartwrenching, with tons of different parts that still manage to fit together as a sensical whole. High distorted sad chords and one-note up-down finger movements alternate with messy ugly flames of passion, metallic note sequences and sorrowful arpeggios to create one fine-fisted bucket of modern angst noise. And the five songs in the middle aren't bad either -- they're just real samey. As my handwritten note for track VI exclaims, "Cone on! Do something different! You've already done this!" But did they listen? Crap no! Possibly because I didn't write said note until after the CD had been out for a while and they felt it would be cost-ineffective to go back and record over five of the songs with a more interesting and well-rounded supply of (hopefully fast as shit) True American Hardcore.
In consummation, End States is good. Not as good as the Elderberry/Invitation EP, but people's tastes grow and change in life. Not mine, but many people's, including probably the members of this band. So can we blame good old Michy Proffit, Davy Sanders, Justy Williams and Der-Der Wimble for not wanting to sound exactly like they did a few years ago (aside from Michy)? And if so, doesn't that say more about us than about them? And if it does, isn't that a sign that we should be more open to artistic growth on the part of our favorite artists? And if so, does that make these songs sound any less like they were written by a person with anterograde amnesia?
The lyrics address the War on Terror, the Rape of Nanking, the Battle of Kwangju and several other exceedingly difficult to comprehend issues in an abstruse wordsmithery style that reminds me of Fugazi in that I can't figure out how all the little phrases are supposed to fit together into a cohesive message. But then I'm not exactly Bob Poetry so maybe you'll understand them all like a cat understands a mouse, or alternately like a tree understands the bark that covers its exterior. A third analogy might involve a fish understanding that he cannot breathe while out of water, and that he thus is well-positioned to emulate the human leisure activity of "swimming" by pushing his body forcefully out of the water and into the air for a few brief moments of thrilling misadventure. These and many other analogies can be found in books all over the world. Read one today!
Incidentally, why is it that Ted Danson can be down with the swirl yet I got kicked out of Burger King for going down on a squirrel? Doesn't assonance count for shit in our criminal justice system anymore?