BUCK-TICK
Six/Nine


5.0
classic

Review

by crossparallel USER (1 Reviews)
November 16th, 2013 | 93 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Buck-Tick's rawest, most psychological album to date, Six/Nine cuts to the bone.

If the title of Darker Than Darkness led you to believe that was Buck-Tick's sombrest album, I present to you its follow up, Six/Nine. After a series of critically and commercially successful albums - the magnetic Aku no Hana (named after Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal), the fiery Kurutta Taiyou (Crazy Sun) and the dreamy, nocturnal Darker Than Darkness -Style93- - Buck-Tick had a reputation to keep. However, they were never a band to play by someone's expectations. Guitarist and songwriter Imai Hisashi was already experimenting with the electronic sound that would become more prominent in the band's subsequent albums, culminating in 2003's Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE. Meanwhile, vocalist and primary lyricist Sakurai Atsushi seemed to be struggling with his fame and his pretty-boy image, looking for ways to be taken more seriously as an artist.

It is no wonder then that Six/Nine is an ambitious album, even by Buck-Tick's standards. Always on the lighter, pop side of the rock spectrum, despite Sakurai's obvious taste for psychological lyrics, this time the band opted to go for a harder rock sound. There are many reasons why Six/Nine could have come off as overblown and pretentious. Length over one hour" Check. Songs with ridiculously long titles" Check. Spoken word introduction and interlude" Check. But it doesn't. In fact, one of the striking things about Six/Nine is how classy and stripped-down it feels in comparison to other Buck-Tick albums. Each song needs a couple of listens to really shine - none two are alike, and there is no filler. A closer look reveals how they are tied together by the recurring themes of alienation and search for meaning, death and rebirth.

Six/Nine is a lot more structured than the mercurial Darker Than Darkness, and parallels and contrasts abound in the songs. Musically and lyrically, repetition seems to be a theme. Many songs are built over recurring riffs, which makes for a hypnotic atmosphere. While not strictly minimalistic, this approach to songwriting adds focus and bite to the songs. It is also reflected in Sakurai's lyrics, which are one of the album's strongest points. It speaks of his greater maturity that he abandons the flowery language so prevalent in Japanese rock, carefully choosing every word and relying on parallelism and the smallest breaks of symmetry to impress on the mind of the listener. The images he paints are sharp and often painful, and he delivers some of the most personal lyrics in his career. But it is Imai who steals the show with his deliciously tongue-in-cheek "Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari" (is it about a school of fish, or society, or ejaculation, or the cycle of death and rebirth")

Much of the music in Six/Nine is harder rock than typical for Buck-Tick, reflecting the themes of the songs. "Kagirinaku Nezumi" looms intimidatingly with distorted guitars and Sakurai's low vocals, and paranoia is to the max on "Detarame Yarou". "love letter", penned by Imai, is a nonsensical melange of English phrases set to some seriously cool industrial-sounding samples, lyrics delivered by Sakurai with just the right amount of sarcasm. On "Uta" existential angst crashes with the will to live and love, resulting in a passionate, deranged, yet disturbingly relatable song that makes you want to sing along, even if you don't know a word in Japanese.

However, the more restrained, contemplative songs are where Six/Nine really shines, proving the expressive power of understatement. "Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai Subete Gokai da" and "Kick (Daichi wo Keru Otoko)" are two of the most beautiful songs Buck-Tick have recorded. They echo the shadowy dream soundscape of Darker Than Darkness, only this time the music and lyrics cut to the bone. "Kodou" and "Misshitsu" provide for a moment of gentleness. Other songs that expand the musical palette are the mystical "Rakuen (Inori Negai)", the pornographic "Kimi no Vanilla" and "Aikawarazu...", which almost goes into rap territory. Art-rocker Issay of Der Zibet makes a guest appearance on "Itoshii no Rock Star", his voice almost indistinguishable from Sakurai's but for the bitter laughter easily felt underneath his words. The album is framed by "Loop" - a poem focusing on reincarnation and the desire to escape with a loved one to a better place - and the instrumental "Loop Mark II", with the spoken word interlude "Somewhere/Nowhere" punctuating the middle.

Six/Nine is unique among Buck-Tick's albums and definitely worth a careful listen. If your preference is for smart, poignant, no-nonsense songs, it may well turn into your favorite album by this versatile band that has done anything from pop to goth to "cyberpunk" music. I know it is mine.


user ratings (25)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
CaptainAaarrrggghhh (3.5)
"I'm just a simpuru maduness man"...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Pheromone
November 16th 2013


6931 Comments


fantastic band

Digging: Moonshake - Eva Luna

Vorpax
July 20th 2015


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just saw Aikawarazu with lyrics on YouTube and loved it. Seemed kinda... schizophrenic? I think that I will buy this album as well (I've bought a lot of buck-tick stuff recently). Great review!

Jasdevi087
July 20th 2015


5475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn't like this album as much as others.

crossparallel
July 22nd 2015


91 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Jasdevi087 Judging by the ratings, you're not alone. At the same time I've seen a lot of fans cite it as their favorite. Seems to be that kind of album. Actually, I started listening to B-T with Kurutta Taiyou and DTD and remember hearing Six/Nine for the first time as a big "wtf?" moment. Because it is not pretty at all - not the music and certainly not the lyrics. 0% sugar added, that sort of thing. Which also happens to be the reason I love it so much now. I guess all that repetition in the song structures doesn't help either - you love it or hate it.



@Vorpax Schizophrenic is a good way to describe it. But then that's Imai writing lyrics for you. "Brain,Whisper,Head,Hate is Noise", "Madman Blues", "Lizard Skin no Shoujo", "Check up"... XD

CalculatingInfinity
December 20th 2015


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All of my yes to this batshit trip through the mind.

EvoHavok
December 20th 2015


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such an odd album compared to their other stuff, but it's damn fine.

CalculatingInfinity
December 20th 2015


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And stripped down, this is so raw musically and emotionally at some points.

EvoHavok
December 20th 2015


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Which must've been the intention.

CalculatingInfinity
February 1st 2016


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bumped for the Gods Buck Tick :D

EvoHavok
February 1st 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Heh nice. Repeated listens do wonders for this record.

Jasdevi087
February 1st 2016


5475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I officially like this band less than all of you now :p

crossparallel
February 2nd 2016


91 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You know, Jas, I have unwavering faith in the brilliance of this album. Ergo at some point in the future this is bound to grow on you. May be a decade from now, but I'll wait.

EvoHavok
February 2nd 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You usually like things less than us, Jas.

CalculatingInfinity
February 2nd 2016


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You still got me into this band into the first place Jas, and for that I thank you.

CalculatingInfinity
April 5th 2016


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfC170Njab4



This performance, right here. The fucking best

EvoHavok
April 5th 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of them. I sure like the mic camera idea.

CalculatingInfinity
April 5th 2016


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There's performances that I love even more from what I've seen from BT lives but they're definitely small in number.

crossparallel
June 12th 2016


91 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cleaned up the review a bit and bumped to 5. It was always a 5 for me anyway, but when I wrote this the average was much lower and I thought no one would take a 5-star review seriously. Wonder how much it has to do with discovolante's 2 being the first rating. Anyway, glad the ratings are looking better today - album deserves all the love.

CalculatingInfinity
June 12th 2016


8862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I asked him to try it again, I have no idea how Disco can 5 Darker and 2 this. Their most daring hour, and an essential listen.

crossparallel
June 12th 2016


91 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Mhm, especially since I dig disco's taste so much otherwise. Not bugging him as long as he keeps his high rankings for Merry and cali≠gari XD



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