Guitar Wolf - Jet Generation
Music attached to artists from countries foreign to the west tend to fall into two types of categories; either an exotic, alluring mystery for the listener that draws on experiences and knowledge of a different culture to create something "different", or the ever so popular trashy novelty factor. In terms of western appeal Guitar Wolf
falls strongly into the latter.
Who are Guitar Wolf for the uninitiated? They are a garage rock trio from Japan who combine elements of punk, rockabilly and a "we don't give a fuc
k" attitude with a kick, they are ear piercingly loud and the guy sings in Japanese! With member names being Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf & Drum Wolf they have recorded several albums and starred in two B-grade science fiction/horror movies that have garnered a cult following, Wild Zero & Sore Losers. They are one of the most well known J-rock bands in western nations, and Jet Generation is their fourth, perhaps most well known album.
First thing to note is this album has potentially the worst mastering production known to man. If you have seen this CD on display in music retailers you probably would have noticed the disclaimer sticker, which reads "Warning: this is the loudest CD ever made. Playing it at normal levels may damage your stereo equipment". Don't take this warning lightly, this album is horribly loud as every instrument has been pushed past peak levels to create a distorted, dissonant noise that hurts to listen to. If there was one album that could ever make your ears bleed it is Jet Generation, the production fails to add a unique charm by falling into punishment territory.
Now the music, the opening feedback of the title track Jet Generation
sets the tone for the entire album. It is gratingly loud and obnoxious, by the time the main part of the song kicks in you hear you've just about heard the whole damn thing. It could be described as something like a fusion of The Ramones, Iggy & The Stooges, Link Wray and The Stray Cats played very, very loud with a screaming Japanese singer over the top. Nonsensical Japanese lyrics fused with broken english that pay homage to rock cliches are rampant, such as got wallet on my ass, rock & roll licence!
. The amount of times the singer goes "1, 2, 3, 4" before starting a song reinforces this silly "we are a rock band" vibe which is fun, I will give them that. However the line between cliche novelty act and something that actually rocks is blurred immensely.
In terms of over the top, minimalistic rock and attitude this album has it in spades but where it falls short is probably something unavoidable in that every song is virtually the same. Loud, noisy feedback, screaming lyrics, and simple power chords repeated ad nauseum are traits which are a staple of this genre so it is perhaps forgivable to some, it has been done to death though. Add this to the shockingly bad, intentional mastering designed to kill speakers and you have a horrible album that is not pleasurable to listen to. Guitar Wolf would be an fun act to see live, I could only imagine how loud they would be based off this album though.