Review: Braided Cord Heroine

[Purchase CD]

I’m flying to New York this week to both hang out with Janet, but also to see POLYSICS on their last tour with Kayo.  To celebrate, it’s POLYSICS week at Kittysneezes!  Here’s a track-by-track review of Kayo’s first — and so far only — solo EP.

Here are the tracks with translations:

01.????????(???????????????????????!)= Braided Cord Heroine

This one’s really sort of odd. It’s sort of like straight J-Pop, but wtih a really interesting arrangement. Kayo sings on it without any processing on her voice, and it’s a little strange — her voice is a little raspier than I’d expect. Hiro plays guitar on this one, but totally not in the POLYSICS style.

02.?????(??????????????!)= Because it’s summer

This one’s with Hiro. So far, the opening guitar actually sounds a little Residential/early-XTC-y (I’m writing this as I’m listening to it for the first time). This is also a little bit more J-Pop after the intro guitar. Kayo’s singing is still unprocessed, but not nearly as raspy as on the title track, so I’m thinking that was just a thing she was doing for that one song. So far, everything is pretty cool. I like J-Pop typically anyway, but I like this better because you can tell that she’s actually playing with the form. The Residential/XTC Guitar comes back during the chorus, which is pretty amusing. Lots of drum machines and some synth noises. So far, this is really not what I was expecting (either POLYSICS or Classical-Style Piano-Type Stuff from what Rich said about Kayo being trained in that sorta thing. But I’m thinking (especially since Hiro’s all over this EP) that this is NOT a sign that she’s thinking of quitting the band and going out solo, and more of just a way to do things that would totally not work in POLYSICS’ style. Just a way to stretch out and experiment with things a bit more. Also, both Hiro and Fumi are on this one, along with Akinori Suzuki from Spoozys on keys.

03.??????(KAYO???????!)= Our time!
This one’s written by Kayo, and has no other POLYinvolvement. And it’s really… neat. It’s pretty straight forward. It’s got some swing/big band sort of drumming on the opening, and it has that sort of sound, only with a really stripped down arrangement. It’s mainly drums, bass, (really soft) electric guitar, clarinets and maybe flutes. It actually sort of reminds me of Puffy (AmiYumi, not the hack asshole who stole their name), mainly “Boogie Woogie No. 5“, even though the two songs aren’t really anything alike. Even though I don’t know the state of Japanese radio or anything, I think so far that this is the most likely Single, since there’s relatively little weird things going on (Track 1’s got a lot of noises in it, and Track 2’s got the weird guitar/drum machine). This, actually all of them so far, is a really pretty song. Near the halfway point it gets a bit louder, but still in that sort of Pop Vein.

04.???????(POLYSICS?????????!) = Green Pop (?)
This one’s back with Hiro. It’s actually really, really POLYSICSy. Like, if POLYSICS just decided to do something just insanely poppy. This is AWESOME. This is pretty much perfect. I think in a screwy sort of way, it could actually fit on a Polysics record. It’d still be a little out of place, so it’s best on a Kayo EP. Also, features Hiro through a vocoder! The only vocoder to be on this EP so far. But man, I love this one. In a way, it’s sort of like a B-side to “Black Out Fall Out” (Album version, not the POLYSICS Or Die!!!! version, I mean.). 

05.?????????(?????????????????????!)=Siberian Railroad
Really POLYSICSy drum track and guitar, (Hiro again), but pretty much straightforward Pop vocal performance. This is also really excellent. “Green Pop” is the best song, but this is a great followup to it. This EP is strange and wonderful. Oh, samples! This EP’s not something I’d think you’d want to introduce someone to POLYSICS with, just because it’s so different to POLYSICS; it’s probably more successful amongst POLYSICS fans than Pop Fans, but, hey, perhaps there’d be some crossover or something. But this is really, really great. It’s funny, because, I could really see this being from a project where POLYSICS were to record a Straight Pop album under an assumed name, sorta like the Dukes of Stratosphear. Because that’s what it really sounds like. And like the Dukes, it’s slightly funny just to hear the arrangements be so On, but more importantly, it’s Dead On Perfect. I SO hope Kayo’s got a full-length coming out after leaving POLYSICS, because I will totally pick that up on the day it comes out. Even if I have to fly to Japan to do so.

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