Reviews

Now Is The Time – Polysics

Label: Tofu Records

When I was 10 years old I remember larking around with a Kodak camera I had ‘borrowed’ from my Dad. Not an issue in itself, but I had a friend round at the time, and as the day wore on and much frivolity was being had in the garden, my partner in crime leapt away to the back of trees to take a piss. Me? I used all my wily skills to creep up on my friend and snap him mid-flow with his tackle hanging out. It was an innocent enough prank and half an hour later we’d ditched the camera back in the top drawer of my Dad’s bedside cabinet and moved on to explore further strange and uncharted territories – like the loft. As the time went on, however and my friend drifted home, I had begun to contemplate the hitherto unforeseen consequences of our high-jinx that day. You see one day, Dad would need to have that film in the camera developed. One day he would take it to Boots chemists and one or two days after that it was more than likely he would have to field some fairly prickly questions regarding the smiling, friendly boy with his tackle hanging out. Naturally, I went back to the cabinet and tried every trick in the book to tamper with the evidence. I placed it in water. I dangled it precariously from the highest tree in the garden and I even attached it to my skydiving Action Man parachute. And when all else failed I tried hiding it. And when I failed to harness any real sense of conviction about these solutions, I came clean. I went to my older brother, explained the story and asked him to destroy the film instead. It was like I’d spent 15 years on death row and been granted clemency at the very last minute of my tawdry, worthless life. The relief was something I could almost taste. And it was certainly something I could wipe up with toilet paper.

The moral of this story is be straight and above board in everything you do, and that includes declaring your influences, as its more than likely they’ll come back to bite you squarely on the arse if you’re not able to conceal them fully or if your Action Man sky-diving shute fails to generate much momentum on its trajectory back down to earth. And backing me up on this little exemplum is Japan’s newest and brightest pop export, ‘Polysics’ who wear their pogoing DEVO nuttiness on their bright red jumpsuit sleeves, right down to the black visor sunglasses and the absurdly expresso, mekanik dancing that accompanies their explosive routine.

Formed in 1997 when band member and vocalist/guitarist Hayashi, inspired by his love of DEVO, began recruiting likeminded musicians to work on a costume-heavy piece of juvenile punk theatre. The result was Polysics – a thrashing, riotous, fireball of fun, frolics and delicious pop mayhem spun on a curve-ball of eccentricity. And in spite of all the dangers, and against all conceivable odds, it bloody well works too.

‘Now Is The Time’ – Polysic’s third album – is a farting little firecracker of razorsharp guitars, ridiculously ad-hoc time-signatures, manic, screwball vocals and a boldly going enterprise of top space tunes. Part Sparks, part XTC, part BiS, part Brian Eno, part Falco, part B52s, and yes, part DEVO, hardly a minutes goes by without some intergalactic space-age whoop or throttle unzipping your hard drive and turning you loose. Best of the bunch is ‘Wild One’ – all loony synth noises, heavy riffing and Iggy tastic vocals – but it’s ably offset by a bunch of similarly minded basket-cases like ‘Ceolakanth Is Android’, ‘I My Me Mine’, and the scandalous ‘Tiosu’.

Currently the guests of the Kaiser Chiefs on their tour of the UK, you’re unlikely to understand anything they say, but you’re sure to know exactly how they feel.

Glad you were upfront on the influences, chaps. Fantastic.

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Release: Polysics - Now Is The Time
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Released: 27 April 2006