October 30, 2008

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Polysics, We Ate the Machine
MySpace/Interscope Records, Sept. 30

Somehow, for whatever reason, just looking at this album cover — limber, rail-skinny Japanese punks dressed in radiation suits and big dumb sunglasses — I wasn’t expecting the next Gordon Lightfoot. Singer Hiroyuki Hayashi may have been inspired by Devo when Polysics formed 10 years ago — and everything looks the part, down to the keytar-whatever thingies they wail on — but they’re, well, the Tokyo version of Devo in an anime age, making spazzy cartoon noise for fingerless-glove-wearing Bakugan hustlers and reveling in the stereotype. The only real thing Devo about them is an implicitly professed love affair with primitive techno instruments (“Moog is Love”), but their sound — which roped in a lot of kiddies during their stint on the MySpace Music tour — is a speedball of Mindless Self Indulgence and Styx (this is Tokyo, remember, not Brooklyn) teaming up to soundtrack G Gundam. The tunes are as un-sucky as their forte allows, which is more than one could ask for, really. B-Eric W. Saeger