Murder License
/fat cat; 2002/

rating : 8.5



more info: 

Yasumi Okano and his buddies are back. And it sounds like they could turn out to be even crazier than we thought they were in the first place.

Their debut album, Tomorrow Never Comes was well, weird, but in a very nice way. Lo-fi shoegazing with drum machines. But very very discreet drum machines. What happened ? The drum machines rebelled.

This is punk. Probably 2punk4U. I'm wondering if it is more punk than Atari Teenage Riot and I'm not sure if it is or not. Musically it is. It's dance music with feedback and industrial beats. And a girl (or is it a guy ?) singing in the next room. It's sounds a little like Merzbow actually. But less noisy. A pop Merzbow. I mean, Merzbow is just noise. (go ahead and send me hate mail, you know I'm right). There are fragments of broken melodies in XINLISUPREME's music. Murder License sounds well, really really good. This is a mini album, but it's tighter and more cohesive than Tomorrow Never Comes. Even if it doesn't feature tracks as haunting as Fatal Sisters Opened Umbrella, it's fucking intense. And I'm pretty sure you can dance to it after swallowing the proper drugs. 

And it's politic, too. The cover art features a ripped US flag pasted on blood traces and there's a pic of George W Bush melted with a pic of executed people in the inside. And there are a few missiles drawn here and there just in case you didn't get the point. Murder License is the only "political" song in the ep I think. I think that the words printed in the booklet are the lyrics but I'm not sure since they're sung by a Japanese guy standing twenty feet away from the microphone.

But I guess it's time to explain to you what has changed. The drums/beats are one the front line now. They replaced the exhausted guitars that drowned everything on the album. Now everything's being beaten up badly by the beats. there are still melodic elements piercing their way through the machines : a keyboard on Murder License, and Front of You, bells on I Drew a Picture of My Eye. Sakae is unbelievable. You feel there's a structure somewhere under the noise but you can only try to find it. Fortunately you're given time to breathe during I.T.D.O.O.M. It sounds like the noise of machines resting, with a repetitive melody drowned in a reverb fog. Very cinematic. After this moment of awkward and rusty peace, you head into Count Down, a seven minutes long track with a slower rhythm (which means it's actually danceable without drugs) and cute little melodious bleeps. This ep ends with a quiet song with just piano (and a guy speaking in the basement under the studio), sounding very Japanese. Can't wait to hear what they're going to do next. These guys are crazy. They could do anything. Like using microphones. Or an equalizer. 

-Barbara H 

/oct 15th 2002/