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Destination Tokyo Meryl Trussler , August 3rd, 2009 13:47

Battles dig this band and they're a wee bit narcissistic for it. But Tyondai Braxton & co are surely allowed some narcissism, and the three hyperactive chicks of Nisennenmondai deserve the endorsement. 'ijeN urusuozuoS' (or, well, 'Souzousuru Neji') is like a 30-second intro of any given Battles song, strung out into a black hole and turned into a 13-minute beast of nervous tension. Every component is fractional, a splinter of a bass note, a cymbal hissing like she's drumming backwards, tugging the sticks away and them falling magnetically back down.

Hence the nervousness; the layered chirps and gasps seem to come from everywhere, like thousands of synapses firing at once. It bodes so well for their live show that I wish I had an account to give, but there's a dozen testimonials wherever the band crops up on the net; so I'll feel safe in the noise-rock circle of trust: it must feel so 3D, so enveloping, moving through VR stars.

This feeling is best typified, not surprisingly, in 'Mirrorball', the most melodic of the four proper tracks on Destination Tokyo (the fifth being the little brother of 'Mirrorball', 'Miraabouru', which consists of what one presumes are girls' voices, sped up into infantile pitches in imitative a cappella). The song is inexplicably exciting. That same feeling of continual crescendo is there, but rung round with dreamy, echoey guitar. Something's coming. Something good. Maybe, like, the future. It might embarrass a couple of hundred readers to say so, but this is very similar to the Final Fantasy VII chocobo racing theme. Remember? In the golden saucer? All those psychedelic, fuschia, neon green and cyan lights hanging in the blackness? The nerds will see what I mean. Maybe this is what Japan feels like all the time.

For fans of the band's first EPs, Neji and Tori, be warned — this is a lot cleaner and more hi-fi. It's got all that addictive, caffeinated complication, but it's better-defined; maths in ink, not pencil. Still thoroughly badass, it feels good that these are women throwing out all this tar and shrapnel. Redefining femininity. Oh yes. You could reach your arm shoulder-deep in the fictional, historical dimension, pluck out and throw dear Mr Darcy into an Upset the Rhythm gig before these girls with sweaty foreheads and bleeding fingers, and the poor man'd be overcome with infatuation.