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Crime Of Love Noel Gardner , January 4th, 2010 06:42

As music continues to disperse into an increasing number of ever-smaller niches, and almost any given genre has enough new releases each to keep you perpetually occupied should you choose, so the people making this music are compelled to find new niches in which to forge an image. If this music comes under the 'punk' banner, this image might centre round being annoying and aggravating. This, I feel, is where Comanechi excel. Despite the veneer of faux-naif reductionism in the duo's clattery fits - Akiko Matsuura, the vocalist, sings a song called 'My Pussy'… but it's about her cat! What an hilarious misunderstanding and oh! The irony! It strikes me that they are very aware of why they might get on people's tits.

Personally, as a fan of (a) media-savvy wiseassery and (b) bands who record with everything in the red, I find this quite endearing. You may not. Can I read you a line from their press biography? (This is bad reviewing form but you can find the whole thing on the same internet you're reading this on, so it's not like anyone's trying to give you the big "yeah, I get to read it cos I'm the reviewer, it came with the CD, which was free by the way. I know, it's a pretty cool job" at this point.) "The album cover and music all link through 2009 psychedelic grungy feelings. It's not taking LSD in festivals, we take MDMA and ketamine in East End bars listening to friends DJing, hallucinating and having sex with the wrong people." That's one or both of the band speaking and Merok - their record label, which is the brainchild of Milo from one of Akiko's other bands, The Big Pink - presumably thought it bathed them in a good light, or one irritating enough to be amusing. Basically, this is punk rock that places the guestlist requesting / hanging out with vintage fashion bloggers / being photographed by Richard Kern (Akiko can actually claim this) aspect of their lifestyle at the forefront of its aesthetic, rather than being all embarrassed about it. There's something to be said for that.

So yeah, Crime Of Love. It's decent. It doesn't suggest that Comanechi are going to eventually write a record as good as the best things by Bikini Kill or Coachwhips or The Raincoats or Mudhoney or USAisamonster or some other bands that they sort of sound like (or even the more no wavey stylings of Pre, yet another band of Akiko's - although they seem to have recently disbanded), let alone actually being that good itself, but that doesn't render it bankrupt. Simon Petrovich favours heavy employment of overdrive and bottom end in his guitar stylings, and alternates between snappy thud-rock riffing and piercing skree; Akiko's drumming is perky if perfunctory, her vocals as red in the face as Red Aunts (who no-one remembers) or Babes In Toyland (who some people do). She shouts "WANKERS" a few times at the end of the title track, and not many people say "WANKERS" in their songs, so that works in Comanechi's favour. 'My Pussy' is slow and lumbering, and the lyrics - essentially an ordered list of food items left outside for a missing pet - are a little like something Wesley Willis might have wrote.

Comanechi seem to carry a reputation of being a 'sexy' band, and some of these songs - 'Death Of You', 'Mesmerising Fingers' - are supposedly about matters sexual, but this seems to largely be in the ear of the beholder. Especially if that beholder happens to think that petite Japanese women screaming profanely is innately hot. (I don't think it's outlandish to suggest that a percentage of the band's fanbase hold views like this.) In this respect, their bathos becomes them: 'Death Of You' ruminates on blowjobs but also feeling "disgusting", while 'Naked' finds Akiko imagining "washing! My body with a toothbrush!" because… because it weirded you out when you thought about it for a second there. Oh, and in a move worthy of a mid-90s Poison comeback album, there are 69 tracks on the CD, 13 to 68 being silent and the not-very-secret closer called 'R.O.M.P (Revenge Of My Pussy)'. These fucking guys.