Have these guys really been doing this for ten damn years now? POLYSICS have, really, been been making DEVO inspired rock and roll for a good solid decade. They’ve been around longer than The Beatles, but have had less drummers than Spinal Tap. Their newest record, We ate the machine is, to put it simply, the best damn thing they’ve done in ten years. No exaggeration, no joke, no bullshit.
If you listen to POLYSICS, you know the basic formula to their music is largely established: high-tempo rock songs with crunchy guitar, synthesizer bleeps, and a taught, pounding rhythm section. However, the wild variations within this formula are impressive enough that they don’t get old or repetitive. We ate the machine explores new territory with both disco influences (such as the harmonies in “Irotokage,” not to mention the down-home funky bassline), and hip-hop (Hiroyuki’s freestyle rapping on “Arigatou” is a wild shocker).
The album’s high points are the opening track “Moog is Love,” the two singles “Pretty Good,” (which I admit had to grow on me), and “Rocket,” plus the remarkable “DNA Junction.” “DNA Junction,” actually, is probably my favorite track on the entire record, an energetic, yet melancholy number with English lyrics. Other tracks to watch out for are “Blue Noise,” a laid back, melancholy tune that recalls “My Room” from the previous POLYSICS opus National P, and “Kagayake” just for the wild chorus. Oh, and “Dry or Wet,” the album’s closer which borrows from XTC’s “Neon Shuffle.”
Sonically, the album is loud, dense, and outright funky. It’s hard to avoid moving while listening. The guitar sounds like a buzzsaw, and the synths are bright and wild. Also, POLYSICS sneak in a bit of synthesized piano in “Pretty Good” and “DNA Junction” which meshes well with the heavy sound. Production is excellent, and the whole thing begs to be listened to at a volume of eleven. There really is not a single misstep, unlike the oddly uneven KARATE HOUSE!!!.
Considering the development of the POLYSICS sound, we finally have a solid blend of the noisy assault of the first three albums with the pop sensibility of “Eno“, and “Now Is the Time!” The harsh edges are back, but the slick production hasn’t totally vanished, and certainly not their energy. I don’t know if there’s going to be a domestic release of this, but pay whatever you have to to import this gem.