As painful as it is for this reviewer to begin describing a band as beyond description
, I can think of few better ways to actually talk about Japanese punk/jazz band Midori, and namely, their fourth record Aratame ma***e, Hajime ma***e, Midori desu.
(Hello everyone. Nice to meet you. We are Midori
). The album is an anomaly; a wild, frenzied blending of unrefined jazz, upbeat J-pop, and chaotic modern punk. Even with the aforementioned descriptors, the album still evades proper categorization, instead opting to bounce between a multitude of other sounds and influences, refusing to be pigeonholed or pinned down. And at the end of the day, this is precisely what makes Aratame ma***e, Hajime ma***e, Midori desu.
such a fun, exciting, and all together captivating listen from start to finish.
A large part of the band’s charm comes in the form of the stunningly fitting vocals. Mariko Goto switches from shrill screams, to “cutesy” pop singing at the drop of the hat, all while making the transition seem natural and effortless. At the album’s outset, she sings with a child-like, innocent tone, only to erupt in frenetic and unhinged screech moments later. She fits the overarching feel of the music perfectly, and really adds indelible amounts of charm and personality to an album already filled with character. But it is the band as a whole that really makes the album so enjoyable. Guitar, keys, and percussion are used to great effect, making a wild, jazzy atmosphere which is highly conducive to unpredictability.
Aratame ma***e, Hajime ma***e, Midori desu.
blazes by with a deliberate speed, with few moments for the listener to catch their breath. From the unassuming “Suki,” to the moody, dense “Feedback Hell,” the album is filled with abrasive, yet somewhat catchy jazz/punk tunes. The key driven “5Time” stands outs as one of the album’s most calm moments, featuring Goto’s softer, cleaner singing, and in contrast to the rest of the record, it’s easily one of the stranger pieces on the entire record. The same can be said of “Konnjounashi atashi, aho boke kasu,” a poppy, cute piece that serves as the album’s most “minimal” song. The most profound and arresting piece in Aratame ma***e, Hajime ma***e, Midori desu.
, however, comes in the form of “Yukikos san.” It’s without a doubt the most hellish track featured, with Goto’s dichotomous vocals being displayed fully. The keys are played furiously over the tremolo picked guitar, while the drummer simply goes wild on the set. It’s really something the needs to be heard to be believed; a standout track that sets the stage for a confounding and bewildering excursion into the world of Midori.
Midori truly are one the most fascinating bands to have appeared over the last several years, which makes their recent disbandment all the more disappointing. Aratame ma***e, Hajime ma***e, Midori desu.
is the perfect representation of the band’s peculiar approach to music, and is a damn fun listen in its own right. There are few, if any, acts out there that sound quite like this. For the adventurous listener, Midori’s exceptional fourth record is a marvelous, exciting experience from start to finish.