BUCK-TICK
Mona Lisa Overdrive


4.0
excellent

Review

by Arche USER (86 Reviews)
July 13th, 2017 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Part two of Buck-Tick's circular pair experiment trades subtlety for boisterousness. And more beeps.

The concept of a circular album – that is, one that starts and finishes at more-or-less the same point – is a little unusual, although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of their existence. There are, after all, circular books and films, and therefore I’d wager my knowledge gap of them is almost certainly one of ignorance. That being said, a circular duo of albums is downright gratuitous; Buck-Tick’s duo of Kyokutou I Love You and Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE is exactly that, however, the former released in 2002 and the latter (of course being this review’s subject) falling a year later.

Mona Lisa…’s more immediately rewarding moments come from their forays into the world of the straightforward rock number – something tackled with consummate ease. The one-two of ‘BUSTER’ and ‘Zangai -Shape 2’ fashion out a powerful angle from which to start the ‘album proper’, adhering to the tried-and-tested ‘guitars and chorus’ shtick with gung-ho confidence; the latter performs its duty perfectly as a single, its ohrwurm battering through into memory with distinctly little grace. A similarly enthusiastic line of attack is taken on ‘Genzai’, which bears a resemblance to Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ courtesy of its short length and percussive relentlessness; on the other hand, ‘Black Cherry’ yields the album’s most relaxed fare, replacing the aggression with a slower, more self-assured swagger.

As to be expected from the Fujioka quartet, however, there’s a few oddities – particularly being a release not big on subtlety. Opening track ‘Nakayubi’ builds from Kyokutou I Love You’s abrasive closer (‘Continue’) with equally confrontational sentiment, the wordsmiths managing to fit an impressive 48 permutations of the f-word into about 3 and a half minutes. ‘LIMBO’s blocky pulse and (frankly, blush-inducingly) sexual lyrics surely cement its place as the soundtrack to any self-respecting android orgy, while Imai’s homage to both 1970s punk and Philip Glass, ‘Sid Vicious ON THE BEACH’, is probably the ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetic distilled to its purest form. Indeed, the one lynchpin that holds Mona Lisa… together is the industrial influence which permeates each song. On some tracks this is obvious (the aforementioned ‘LIMBO’, the scuzzy ‘Ai no Uta’), whereas on others its application is a little less heavy-handed; ‘GIRL’ is a good example. A decidedly ‘pretty’ song, the adjective used is not a typical hallmark of industrial’s usually cold gaze – yet, simply by adding a smidge of vocal chorusing and non-intrusive technological sounds, it maintains its pleasant feeling without sacrificing the album’s overall style.

Ultimately though, Mona Lisa… is a classic example of an album only as good as its hooks. Its strongest tracks – ‘BUSTER’, ‘Zangai’, ‘LIMBO’, ‘GIRL’ and ‘Genzai’ – all get by either on vocal catchiness first, sheer energy second, or (in the case of the first two) a mixture of both. Where these criteria are met, happy days. When not, mediocrity ensues. ‘Monster’, a nigh-on amorphous brick of industrial grime and breakbeats disguised as a rock song, comes and goes without so much as a raised eyebrow (the only reflection one can make is the feeling of a missed opportunity); the title track, while fulfilling the energy criterion, is sadly plagued by frustrating ‘rap’ verses and an irritating chorus melody. As such, given the choice of any Buck-Tick album to, theoretically, play on a never-ending loop alongside Kyokutou…, this is probably not going to be the final decision made. However, that is as much a reflection on the strength of their discography as it is one on the album itself; Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE is still a very worthwhile release for a band still exploring a sound (in this case, cyberpunk) within its eventual twilight years.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
July 13th 2017


5651 Comments


Comment number 5,000!

Teeming with fun moments. Any comments, corrections, suggestions etc. as always welcomed :]

EvoHavok
July 13th 2017


7683 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Far from my top too, but one can't deny how entertaining and brash it is.

Excellent review as always, Aaron.

Snake.
July 13th 2017


21586 Comments


what the fuck this entire review doesn't make sense

CalculatingInfinity
July 13th 2017


8880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I enjoy this one quite a bit but it ain't on their higher tier albums. Regardless I love this era of Buck Tick since their lives were so slutty and wild, great job Aaron.

butcherboy
July 13th 2017


9464 Comments


you're on a kick, Arch.. another great write-up..

AsleepInTheBack
July 13th 2017


5956 Comments


Lovely review, certainly intriguing

Flugmorph
July 13th 2017


20905 Comments


good shit aaron, gotta jam while reading this

CalculatingInfinity
July 13th 2017


8880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahhhh the title track on this is so good.

Archelirion
July 13th 2017


5651 Comments


Thanks very much guys ^ ^
Eh, not too much of a fan of the title track. Buster is awesome tho

50iL
July 13th 2017


5069 Comments


Ayy nice job Aaron, we need more BT reviews on this website. I'm considering reviewing Cosmos myself but we'll see

Digging: Iannis Xenakis - La Lgende d'Eer

EvoHavok
July 13th 2017


7683 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Do it ;).

CalculatingInfinity
July 13th 2017


8880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Cosmos definitely needs a review.

RunOfTheMill
July 13th 2017


3949 Comments


BT on the front page, that's what I like seeing. Never hward this one tho, I should change that. Will read review later.

If no one writes a review for Cosmos before September, I call dibs.

CalculatingInfinity
July 13th 2017


8880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jam this then Kyokutou back to back, best experience you can get with those 2 albums.

EvoHavok
July 13th 2017


7683 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jam Kyokutou first, cuz that's the order.

CalculatingInfinity
July 13th 2017


8880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well...that's the release order but there's no 'proper' order in concept since it's circular. Imo using Mona then Kyokutou is much better because this kicks it off with a bang, then the intro Blade Runner follows from Continuous without pause and from there it results in an emotional climax with Brilliant/Oukoku Kingdom Come after a long listen, which is cathartic to the extend it's up there with my favorite moments in their discography. Also Continue from Kyokutou has a 3 second pause between that one the opener of this with a thud ending the track, so Continue feels more fitting as a closer.

RunOfTheMill
July 13th 2017


3949 Comments


Well I've listened to Kyokutou before, but I will try this next. Need to catch up on my BT jamming been sleeping on many of these later albums

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2017


11682 Comments


Fantastic review man, so when you say these guys did 2 circular albums one after another, do they cycle within themselves and with each other like a figure eight? Or are they just two seperate cyclical albums one after another?

Anyway, will check this, I've only heard a little bit of this band's stuff on dub and enjoyed it, never followed up on it for some reason.

TVC15
July 14th 2017


9933 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

OH SHIT

Archelirion
July 15th 2017


5651 Comments


Thanks Scuro ^ ^ In effect, they figure eight each other - you can listen to either of them in either order, and they will link up. It's a pretty neat idea if, as I wrote, a little gratuitous :L




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