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Coming at you from London via Japan via outer space, the wailing steam-powered psychedelic juggernaut Bo Ningen has resurfaced for a brand new album of pounding grooves, babbling vocals and swirling buzzsaw guitar scree. Think the metronomic efficiency of Can mixed with the relentless amp burnout of The Heads and you’re in the right ballpark.
In ‘Henkan’ they reach a head of steam towards the end with fast-flowing echoed vocals and intense kraut grooves that’s bringing to mind Leeds golden boys MJ & The Hookworms, and there’s an earthy grooviness that reminds me a little of Goat or Dead Skeletons in places, but rawer and more ballsy, with clear influences from the Shit & Shine school of screech’n’clank repeato rock. In fact I’m enjoying this a lot. It seems far too good to be a CD only release. Someone get this pressed on vinyl please!
Their foot doesn’t come off the gas until more than halfway through, where ‘Ten to Sen’ offers a brief respite with some plaintive singing adrift in a desolate landscape of feedback and amp crackle. It’s very effective but it does take away from the record’s momentum a little, although the following track ‘Shin Ichi’ soon blows away any cobwebs with some demented speed riffing and trouser-browningly disgusting power-bass riffage. Closer 'Natsu no Nioi' reminds me a little of Motorpsycho's 'Stalemate' and is another heartbreaker but it works as a gorgeous, almost spiritual album closer so I have no complaints.
‘Nichijyou’ also particularly impresses, alternating between wonky minimal staccato groove and cosmic shredfest with joyful relish and then kicking your butt with some Mars Volta hysteria over more of that grotesquely distorted bass rumble. I love the fact that these guys keep the sweet hooks coming without losing that feeling of galloping, chaotic momentum that this record possesses. If you’re kind of digging this recent kraut-psych revival but haven’t found that band who really crank up the rock far enough grab you by the scruff of the neck and wang you into space like a ThrowBot3000, check this shit out. Total unhinged repeato power.
8/10 Evan Customer review, 9th October 2013
I've had an odd relationship with Bo Ningen. I first encountered them supporting The Horrors along with TOY (who I also discovered that night) in Cardiff in some tiny little place. Me and a friend who had no interest in The Horrors nor psych in any way, she just went with me out of pity, spent most of the time watching Ningen in general amazement, a state of shell shock and wondering which of the members were girls (turns out none of them). It was an amazingly energetic, loud and wailing performance which, although some of the sound was a little too screamy and scratchy for me, left an impression on me.
My next encounter with Ningen was in London where they performed a Dada poetry reading with female punk band Savages. It sounded too strange to be true so I had to go and what a great, crazy, sweaty experience. The two bands whispering poetry at one another before launching into an hour long Bo Savages jam which screeched and whirled and banged in my ears long into the next week.
From both of these encounters I have not got hooked on the band, they are a little too loud for me to listen to at home, but their ability to sling riffs together into whirling messes is just brilliant and they are just great musicians. I'd recommend everyone to see them live for just a mind blowing experience and a bit of a laugh as you try to figure out how you got to be viewing and hearing this spectacle.
This album has been out for a year now but will soon be released on 2LP for the first time. Track 'Daikaisei Part II, III' is perhaps the most accurate illustration of Ningen as a band. A whirling, consuming piece which for 9 minutes roars along effortlessly. 'Henkan' is equally rumbling with some crackin' vocals and drums, it's fun, terrifying and leaves you both paralyzed in awe and jumping with inner demons left to run amok. There are quieter moments like 'Ten to Sen' which are good but Bo Ningen are all about getting a black eye and not caring because you're lost in the reverb.
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