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Bo Ningen, III

Bo Ningen, III

By Sharon O'Connell, ContributorThe London-based Japanese quartet Bo Ningen (it translates roughly as "stick men") are renowned for their extreme, scorched-earth approach to live performance, but with their 2010 self-titled debut, they proved they could also deliver shock and awe on record. Increasingly, they've focused on the structural development of their songs, rather than replicating their in-the-moment, on-stage ferocity; consequently, their third album pays close attention to build/sustain/release patterns, tonal balance and the dynamic interplay between density and open space. Singer and bassist Taigen's admiration of Steve Reich has played its part, but there's nothing here that smacks of academic exercise and, despite their membership of the freeform, psychedelic rock fraternity and obvious love of the deep motorik groove, Bo Ningen are absolutely not a "jam band." Thrills abound in their battery of controlled eruptions, as they corral occasional quasi-hardcore workouts (as on "Psychedelic Misemono Goya [Reprise]" and "Kaifuku"), cartwheeling drum patterns ("Mitsume"), see-sawing… more »

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Gallon Drunk, The Soul of the Hour

Gallon Drunk, The Soul of the Hour

By Victoria Segal, ContributorGallon Drunk staggered and swaggered through the '90s in tattooed-knuckle style, a highly combustible combination of pomade, tobacco and artificial fibers, all liable to go up in flame at any second. On The Soul of the Hour, the follow-up to their 2012 release The Road Gets Darker from Here, however, the London band sounds poised and watchful. "Over and Over" and "The Speed of Fear" betray the influence of the six years frontman James Johnston spent playing with Faust. The entrancing "Dust in the Light" is the album's obvious oddity — a hazy, off-beam ballad that, absurdly but effectively, seems to have let Tears for Fears' "Mad World" seep into its subconscious. If their profile as sharp-suited men about the worst parts of town has dwindled in the past decade, their musical impulses have lost none of their snap and spark, as the Iggy Pop writhe-and-twitch of "The Exit… more »

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Eagulls, Eagulls

Eagulls

By Andrew Parks, ContributorOutside the occasional shouted chorus and venom-tipped aside, it's hard to make out much George Mitchell is saying on Eagulls' self-titled debut. His anger, however, is crystal-clear, and it cuts across an album's worth of… more »

Tags: Eagulls, London