Kila Kila Kila
OIOO’s fourth album, Kila Kila Kila, poses the question, “where is the Yoshimi-P-We who so famously and naively battled the pink robots?” When did Yoshimi lose the propelling force we Boredoms fans know her to possess, or the animated, birdlike quality that dominated OOIOO’s second and most successful release, Feather Float? In comparison to Feather Float and her work with the Boredoms, Kila Kila Kila is easily one of her worst works to date.
That’s not to say Feather Float was an unmitigated achievement; it certainly wasn’t. Its airy, naïve noise-rock-meets-bubble gum pop style, was far simpler and less engaging than the recent Boredoms releases to which it was inextricably linked. It possessed the often-blissful repetition that characterizes the Boredoms’ music, but it sorely lacked any left-turns, which, to a greater extent, constitute the Boredoms’ greatness.
With Kila Kila Kila, which follows a Japan-only release, however, OOIOO apparently decides not to improve upon its previous efforts, instead experimenting with entirely new sounds. The greatest difference lies in the band’s abandonment of its Krautrock influences, which thoroughly guided Feather Float throughout its duration. In addition, OOIOO delves more deeply into jazz, and even introduces a symphonic element to its music with “on mani.”
Because of its unexpected instrumentation and fine songwriting, “on mani” is the only track on the album that can be praised as anything more than above average. The song begins rather traditionally for the band, with a guitar playing a scale over restrained drums, but soon afterwards, a violin and cello enter along with driving drums in what is easily the most blissful moment on the album. The strings soon drop out as a vaguely funky bass line becomes more prominent and Yoshimi’s trumpeting steals the spotlight. From here, the many layers build nicely, and although the song would benefit from dropping a minute or two from its excessive length, it stands as OOIOO’s strongest piece to date.
Virtually everything surrounding this piece is hopelessly mediocre, unfortunately. The album opens very weakly, with two irritating and utterly pointless tracks that purportedly serve to introduce the album’s epic scheme. Slightly stronger are “on mani”’s direct neighbors, “Sizuki Ring Neng” and “Northern Lights”. “Sizuki Ring Neng” wastes a couple minutes, but eventually finds its groove with a few accented guitar notes over a churning bass, which are temporarily washed away by Stereolabesque keyboards (these pop up a surprising amount on Kila Kila Kila) before they return for the lighter ending. “Northern Lights” is a pleasantly slow post-rock piece in the traditional sense of the term, which is a slightly odd regression, considering that OOIOO and the Boredoms’ style is already undeniably post-rock.
The remaining two pieces, which close Kila Kila Kila, are unmemorable reminders that the album is, most of all, limp, repetitive, and uninteresting. OOIOO covers more ground with Kila Kila Kila, but nonetheless produces an album that is only slightly above average. Feather Float might not have been revelatory, but this is even farther away from greatness.
Reviewed by: Kareem Estefan
Reviewed on: 2004-02-02