Review: YAM AMO - "YAM AMO"


On the math rock spectrum, YAM AMO are fractions forged in chalk dust, their wiry mandolin strands and bleats of melodica signifying segmented pizzas or lattice-topped pies cooling in the window. The Japanese post-rock quartet may bake erratic rhythms and clumsily braided folk melodies on their self-titled debut effort, but never outside the crusty confines of simplicity: partitioned with a wheel-shaped knife, the 11-track LP is attuned to the sweet-tooth, citric drips of jazz riffs oozing from the corners of each slice.

Their name translating to "The Mountains", YAM AMO's approach to instrumentation is suitably rustic. Though antsy percussion occasionally traverses the urbane choreography of late-90s Chicagoan acts like Joan of Arc and Tortoise, the fresh breaths of celebratory twang that accompany them stick to well-trodden dirt paths. Each tune on this album of instrumentals is its own striking revelation - a leap into raked leaves or a step onto the precipice - exploding with the same youthful cheer that once incited Cap'n Jazz or K Records' Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. In the fast-food jingle trills of "ホームタウンホリデー" ("Hometown Holiday"), the contrail puffs of flute that knot "じゅげむ" ("Tighten"), and even in the anxious condensation of "台風のあと" ("After the Typhoon"), a triumphant peal of trumpet jutting from its blanket of guitar gloom a la American Football's "The Summer Ends".

As its artwork suggests, YAM AMO is as trustworthy as the Sunday comics folded on your front lawn, their primary colors facing the parting clouds of an overcast morning. It is a record to be spread out and consumed with a glazed donut and hot beverage, enveloped by the remnants of sleep.