Urusei Yatsura were the type of scrappy noisy pop protagonists that would probably do quite well if they were round these days so what better time for Rocket Girl to compile a compilation of all their radio sessions from the mid '90s. Indeed this collection is essential for any aficionados of '90s lo-fi slacker rock.
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It’s that time of week we like to call Robin Wasn’t Born Yet. In actual fact, ‘We Are Urusei Yatsura’ was released when I was three and being continually misnamed Peter by my very stubborn sister, so I don’t remember much about it. How of the time it sounds, though: a clear-cut noise pop offering between angular smartasses Sonic Youth and the more gnarled Yo La Tengo, with as much bubblegum as the distortion -- call their fried guitars, summertime ruffs and loose rhythms the moment where the big bubble you’ve blown with your gum pops all over your face.
This slacked-out LP tributes that record, twenty years to the day (sorta) with eleven cuts from live radio sessions, be they John Peel’s (“First Day On A New Planet”, Hello Tigr”, Exidor”, “Flaming Skull”, “Dice/Nae Dice”) or… someone else’s. As if giving you a live snapshot of how much the band enjoyed doing their thing, each tune is excitedly cooed or yelped, the guitars jangling as loudly as they can get ‘em in their tinny studios. “Kewpies Like Watermelon” showcases how much the band liked to get you both infatuated and furious, with screams coming straight before calmly iterated hooks. It sounds like it made “Summer Babe” its blueprint, giving you sun-stroked noise after a good day out, having to relax on dozing chords and one-string riffs after a big amp-up.
What’s there to say, really, about live sessions? They might be a lil’ lost on you if you aren’t already into the band, and you might just wanna listen to your old records if not. But there’s some lovely interplay here that basically affirms the band’s cult status -- the harmonic strikes of the guitars here and there and the gruesome but cuddly rock shambles everywhere. Sit back and relax and then maybe get mad.
9/10 The Doc Customer review, 9th September 2016
Shit yeah! These were a great band back in the '90s and this brought back some brilliant memories from my teenage years. Knackered instruments, zero production values, shabby but unbelievably melodic pop songs with lyrics about stun guns, Kewpies, comicbook conventions and Japanese biological weapons, all buried beneath a big fat wall of distorted, skronking noise, and dear, sweet Jesus they made a gloriously unholy racket live.....it's no wonder Peel loved them, and Jo and Steve were quite partial to a bit too.
What you have here is basically a Peel sessions comp with a few Evening Session tracks and a stray track from a BBC Scotland show to pad it out. It's a great selection of tracks, most of which sound even louder, messier and more half-baker than the studio versions. If you've never heard them before this a pretty decent primer - if you like what's on offer here, you'll be pretty much into everything they ever recorded, which sadly only ran to something like three full-lengths and a couple of EPs, all of which are well worth having. Did I make it through the review without saying 'slacker?'. No? Shit.
Ah well. Oh - it's on bright pink vinyl too. Marvellous.
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