Review: Tokyo Karan Koron - "Go Nin No Entertainers"

Tokyo Karan Koron - Gin Nin No Entertainers
(Specific 2015)

Settling in the same remote sonic territory as high-energy outliers like Fang Island and Of Montreal, Japanese quintet Tokyo Karan Koron cleverly weave elements of prog, new wave and math rock into their sensory assault of maximalist pop. On the surface, Gin Nin No Entertainers, the band's sophomore LP re-issued earlier this year by French imprint Specific, is a colorful and aggressively catchy assortment of quirky indie-rock; a closer listen reveals layers of complexity and avant-garde experimentation so deftly woven together that it's tricky to recognize their presence. Itinerant melodies leave dissonant comet tails beyond the horizon line of "16 no Beat"'s bouncy, vaguely punk rhythm section while splashes of calliope-like keyboard tint the landscape with a pastel filter; this depth of sound wielded by the band provides plenty of room for smooth - yet drastic - shifts in tone and texure. As tension builds, the tune assumes a hedonistic, carnival-like atmosphere which explodes into a blinding kaleidoscope of Paisley positivity.

Each song on the Gin Nin No Entertainers houses its own balance of free-spirited fun and emotional catharsis - the brief moments that offer rest between the fragmented ideas and strange melodic tangents become the album's most memorable. The flimsy strand of twangy notes - played in tandem on keyboard and lead guitar - that bridge the gap between the sections of sludgy abstraction and nebulous pop on "Yubi De Kiss Shiyo" is my personal favorite of these. Like the interludes on Deafheaven's Sunbather, the short segments of minimalist ambience that act as calming pauses between blistering hurricanes of expressionist rock bear as much emotional weight as the songs they bookend. Gin Nin No Entertainers is a verdant garden filled with variety and fresh creativity that practically begs the listener to jump in and explore.