Review: Mecha Yuri - "Anime Murder"

Mecha Yuri - Anime Murder Compilation
(Mecha Yuri 2014)

For the past year and a half, I've been casually observing the evolution of Mecha Yuri (formerly Harmonicanadian Reckords), a collective of lo-fi artists who happen to be major fans of anime and shows on Cartoon Network. Upon my discovery of their bandcamp in late 2012, each of the artists was in a sort of embryonic phase, creating short, goofy concept releases that sounded like re-issues of Sebadoh demos and rarities: warbly acoustic noodling, spacey electronic/drone compositions and the occasional twangy garage rocker. Almost each album or single warranted a new project title, and each member of the collective featured would be credited under a monosyllabic pseudonym. It made for a confusing discography to navigate, but that only gave it the sort of mysterious allure that I tend to enjoy. As time went by, and the collective changed names, some of these projects began to solidify and mature. As of now, there are four concrete projects who have put out albums as part of the Mecha Yuri collective. Their latest release, Anime Murder, brings these artists together for an extended listening experience. Each track is exclusive to the compilation, making for a stellar introduction to the world of Mecha Yuri.

The first band to appear is Radical McKickflip, an acoustic solo project that deals out peppy pop jingles with clever, often funny lyrics. I rather enjoyed the track, "He's Animal Crossed The Line", from his demo LP last winter, a fun little tune about becoming too attached to video game characters. His initial two tracks on the comp deliver his same winning formula, but he also offers up a 10-minute epic: "It's a Mystery", which initially starts out as being about a murder, but slowly morphs into a tragic love story, accompanied by a train whistle and melodica. It's his most beautiful track by leaps and bounds. Next up is oyasumi, the most prolific Mecha Yuri artist, formerly known as Death Punchies. His sound blends the droning rock guitaristry of the Velvet Underground with Animal Collective's dizzying psychedelia. Bordering on shoegaze, the sound of "Isabelle" is enormous. Cavernous reverb, chirping synths and swooning vocals all make up a creamy wall of rich sonic fluff. The OMNIPRESENCE also channels Animal Collective's sound, but draws more from their earlier work on Danse Manatee and Sung Tongs, freak-folky jams with gnarled, lo-fi vocals. He also whips up a gorgeous ambient track, "Inspiration Cycle". High Impact Sexual Violence, the collaboration between Radical McKickflip and oyasumi, throws in a garage rock cover of an already decently punky japanese tune from the anime K-ON. They even sing it in the original language! This compilation is chock-full of quirks and fun. Check it out below.