Gold & Green
he Boredoms made some of the deadliest punk rock on Earth.
My ears rang for hours after hearing their album, Pop Tatari in a tiny record shop’s beaten-up CD player—opening track, “Noise Ramones”’ Emergency Broadcast squeal, and kabuki warlord Yamataka Eye’s fire-breathing that Reprise somehow thought was marketable all left a small tear in my soul. This was not the typical Japanese art that comforted Western romance. It was punk as absolute catharsis.
The Osaka noiseniks’ Soul Discharge and Onanie Bomb Meets the Sex Pistols are both thrash-punk classics that broke up songs into moments and movements of both comedy and horror, liberation and a master’s whiplash, the ecstasy of being alive and getting a bullet through the head. The Bores’ pivotal album is Super AE, where they went barefoot in the park and pasteurized their disorder into tribal drum-circling, sun-bleached commune jams on par with Amon Duul II and Babaluma-era Can, and a sense of joy that wasn’t marred by art-damaged pretensions.
The Bores’ percussionist/trumpeter/mid-90’s Yankee indie-rock darling/Snoopy addict, Yoshimi P-We further took the cartoonish logic of Super AE and continued it with her all-woman band, OOIOO. Just like the Bores, the genre-smearing psych band is about the ideas that spill over. Thrill Jockey recently gave the band’s second album, Gold & Green its American debut. The 2000 record’s mood has a childlike sense of awe at life—OOIOO could seemingly look at a single attractive object whether it be a flower, an animal or a painting and then daydream about it by running back and forth, back and forth into a trance.
Opener, “Moss Trumpeter” is a fine intro. It marches along to a ramshackle, junk percussion beat with a trumpeter playing a ballad to set the sun—all ending with wind chimes that lightly clang into the following, “Tekutekutune.” Images of dragonflies zigzagging down as they pass out come to mind with that song’s harmonica blurts and a toot-a-looing synth that coughs like a CB radio. The child’s play continues with songs like the Sonic Youth-goes-raga number, “Mountain Book,” the flute/guitar space-out funk of “Grow Sound Tree,” and the Yoko Ono Saturday morning cartoon “Idbi.” And then there’s the Latin-rock jam that melts in the air (“Ki6”).
It is arguable that Gold & Green is the link between Super AE and the Bores’ much feted neo-psych masterpiece, Vision Creation Newsun. The finale, “Return to NOW!!!”’s voodoo fire-walking dance seals that connection. Even in their trashiest moments, the Bores have a sense of innocence and awe that too many Yankees fall for. OOIOO keeps that tradition alive.
Reviewed by: Cameron Macdonald
Reviewed on: 2005-09-08