In another dimension in space and time Jon Spencer Blues Explosion comes from Japan, the only English word they know is “yeah!” and they are called King Brothers. We must all hail their trashy brand of Japandemonium!
Unless you can read Japanese you will be hard-pressed to find any information on the interweb about King Brothers. Formed in Nishinomiya City in 1997, the band is known for their hyperactive and destructive live shows, they have even been banned from performing at several venues in Osaka. From what I can make out they have a dude called Keizo on vocals and guitar, a guy called Marya who shouts and plays the guitar too, and a hard hitter called Taichi. They did have a bassist, but I believe he imploded due to rocking out too hard!
‘Wasteland’ is the sound of raw, live energy pumping on your stereo. The King Brothers live show distilled into 11 hard hitting blasts of noise that will have you shaking like a loon and fighting the desire to stage dive from any given object.
From the cool as you like opening title track with its swathes of Hammond and blues harmonica workout, to the closing bastardisation of a Stones classic lovingly re-titled ‘Sympathy For The XXXX’, they garagify ( I made a new word!) everything they touch. And there’s a sort of post-apocalyptic feel to the whole thing.
The “Oh Yeah” refrain of ‘No Want’ was enough to draw me in. Check out the video, now that’s a band you wanna see live right? Yeah, I’m sold hook, line and sinker baby! With surf guitar licks aplenty and urgent beats, it’s over before you can order a round of Sake, a veritable smorgasbord of high energy musical chaos.
What you hear is what you get with King Brothers, two guitars, pounding beats and undistinguishable shouting make up their marvellous trashy noise. Sure, they also throw in a mean, bluesy harmonica now and then to break up the monotony (yeah right, monotony is not a word in the King Brother vocabulary!)
‘Odorushikabane’ with its full-on harmonica intro takes the garage rock blueprint right down to a steady groove, it has a New York Dolls thing going on which is always a bonus in my book. The overly cool ‘Kick-Ass Rock’ channels Blues Explosion with fuzzy bass and indie beats aplenty and ‘No No No’ is ‘My Generation’ on crack and a sugar buzz fix, a riotous cacophony of noise.
Mental instrumental ‘Bang Blues is cool and the repetitive strains of ‘No Thanks’ sorta sounds like The Strokes with a rocket shoved up their collective skinny arses!
The power of rock ‘n’ roll defies the language barrier and ‘Wasteland’ proves music truly is a universal language. I don’t have a clue what they are singing about and I couldn’t care less, because when the needle hits the groove of a King Brothers album you will think of nothing else but losing your shit! Bring on the live show.