Soundtrack for a dream
Experiments in noise give a wake-up call to Fulcrum Records
I don’t normally mention when shows don’t start on time—they never do, so why constantly repeat it? What I usually end up doing is calling ahead, which I did for last Thursday’s show at Fulcrum Records. The show was set to start at nine, and at 8:40 not one band had even shown up to the venue yet, so I began to doubt things would be happening anytime soon and settled in for a much-needed nap.
Japan’s Limited Express (Has Gone?) is billed as pop/rock, but even in a very loose definition that barely fits. If the band’s name hasn’t already tipped you off, this three-piece produces a fairly convoluted version of “pop/rock.”
Descendents of the family tree of fellow countrymen The Boredoms and Melt Banana, Limited Express is similarly trying to produce a musical representation of craziness, but with less of an emphasis on volume than its predecessors. “Spy,” the second song on its CD Feed You, is a good example of the basic approach, containing at least three songs spliced together, the bass, guitar and drums are all running around in a variety of tight, oddly-timed grooves, jumping from circle to circle and hitting the ground all at once in weird fuzzed-out jazz/prog passages. The craziness is schizoid but controlled, punctuated with Tourettes-like blurts of “Spy!” and “Mommy, mommy! Daddy, daddy!” throughout.
I can’t say how the band members pulled this off live—by the time my weary eyes checked back in with Fulcrum they had just finished playing, but judging by the palpable astonishment in the room, it was impressive.
Half-awake or not, as soon as Experimental Dental School opened class the whole room was spastically jerking along to the carnival rock, led by ex-Chicoan Jesse Hall goading the crowd along with a call-and-response "Olà!" EDS and its funky organ-drenched dance music are a wake-up call. The basic lines aren’t anything new—John Spencer Blues Explosion has been getting folks on the dance floor with same funky blues for some time now—but EDS adorns them with a Mad Max mishmash of PVC-pipe microphones and metallic vibrator slides that gives its rock an overdriven feel that veers dangerously close to tearing apart.