Beware: Scratch or Stitch
is the sort of Japanese noise rock that could prove highly unsettling. Imagine rampaging drums, guitars even more gnarled and noisy than those on Sonic Youth
, a female vocalist screeching in monotone, and bass a funk metal band could be proud of, and you're about halfway there. This may sound like a racket -- and it is -- but it's such a tight, organized, and intense racket that you can't help but be awed by it; the band tears through 22 brief songs without ever leaving highest gear, and the production assistance from Steve Albini
and Jim O'Rourke
really capture the insane energy of the group. (And trust me -- the "insane energy" you may imagine while reading this is nowhere close to what you'd hear on the album.) It's hard to imagine anyone sitting down and listening to this album in its entirety, but that certainly doesn't mean it's not good -- the thrill here is the same sort that comes from the Boredoms
' more ridiculous romps and the cascades of noise Merzbow
passes off as albums. Among Western audiences, Melt Banana
requires a very unique type of listener -- they're a very unique sort of band.