November 11, 2010

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Molice, Catalystrock
Good Charmel Records, Nov. 9

Molice would appear to have designs on moving past their j-rock trappings, perhaps into some sort of advanced, post-j-punk position into the role of a Japanese version of Pavement or Versus or whatnot. For that they’d have to sidestep the anime-backgrounding bear-traps of Tokyo, where Shonen Knife is the Ramones, Boris is Sabbath and Luna Sea is Adam Lambert. Toward all this they lead off the LP with “Monster,” a Blondie-feeling head-bobber with front-chick Rinko exclaiming the no-brain chorus like it’s a cheerleading tryout, then into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-like “Romancer,” fitted with no small degree of Gundam-soundtrack catchiness crammed into its crowded, too-busy B-52s refrain, but that’s j-punk for you, all the frenzied passion of texting without straining your thumbs. Plenty of full-bore no-wave (“Into You,” “The Haze”) on board, but the band isn’t non-technical enough to admit defeat, thus the bag can get really mixed: a complicated, none-too-bad Vampire Weekend-inspired rhythm powers “Android Said”; “Monday Runs” evokes Softies on an emo tip; “Let’s Merge” rips off the Police’s “Synchronicity I”; “Fine Wave” dabbles in prehistoric shoegaze.

B — Eric W. Saeger