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Paintbox: Trip Trance & Travelling [2xLP]Trip Trance & Travelling [2xLP] (2009)
Reviewer Rating: 5
Contributed by: sketchyjoesketchyjoe
(others by this writer | submit your own)
Maybe the strength of this album is diluted if I actually talk about what it sounds like before you listen to it. Certainly some of the strongest reactions that people I know have given it come from the utter shock of its sound. So I will beseech you to fucking trust me on this and just get this blo.
Maybe the strength of this album is diluted if I actually talk about what it sounds like before you listen to it. Certainly some of the strongest reactions that people I know have given it come from the utter shock of its sound. So I will beseech you to fucking trust me on this and just get this bloody album.
Lyrically, I don't really have much to say about this album. I fell in love with it before I knew what the hell they were singing, which is fairly unusual for me. Even if a band's lyrics are completely dumb, I like to be able to sing along with them, but that's just another testament to the overwhelming power of the music. Since I first heard it, I've purchased the gorgeous gatefold double-LP, which comes complete with lyrical translations, and while it's a relief to know I haven't been madly besotted with a concept album endorsing the Rape of Nanking, I still don't really care about what they're singing. The lyrics are kind of clunky in translation, but are perfectly workable, fun, punk exhortations of freedom. They don't completely work on paper, but few punk lyrics do. It's always about the way they're sung—the force put into them. I'm sure if you were Japanese it would be a lot of fun to sing along to lines like "It's not enough. / Destroy all the rules. / You will strike a mine called shyness and explode yourself. / We are making preparations steadily," or "Going to the ends of the endless world. / Using every trick to coax my rickety body. / Swinging paralyzing gasoline. / Let's become ape-men with an engine and go," but for me they're sadly just a peripheral part of the whole experience.
I have utterly no problem with a band that just wants to play punk rock and never alter their style. I love the Copyrights more and more with each release and never expect them to change much. I'm enamoured with the Lillingtons, Guitar Wolf, and Threatener, and countless other bands that stick rigidly to a particular basic punk rock template, but there's such a complete feeling of delight to hear a band push the envelope of punk rock so far beyond its conventional bounds without ever losing the vim and fury that makes it so appealing. I've never been much of a metal fan, but this album is like everything I would always sort of want metal to sound like in its noise and bombast streamlined perfectly into happy bursts of infectious cacophony.
In the making of this album, Chelsea, the guitarist of Paintbox and before that, Death Side, died, as did Mayuko Sakai, the woman responsible for the beautiful ethereal female vocals that perfectly counterpoint the angry growl of the lead singer (whose name remains untranslated in the lyrics booklet). Now it would be jejune and probably offensive to speculate that the decade-long struggle to produce this album in all its epic scope contributed to their death (Chelsea by all accounts had a pretty big drug problem for a long time [online you can find a report of someone seeing him play a show with a heroin baggie hanging from the mic]) and died after, apparently spending several days getting drunk and not eating in a hot apartment without adequate air-conditioning). Instead, I'll say that in the searing beauty of this album, the glorious derangement of the whole endeavour, the way it makes the absurd-sounding mix of psychedelia and punk rock, J-pop and thrash, lounge jazz and metal, prog and hardcore sound like the most natural thing in the world and never get tired or boring over a running time about the same as Buster Keaton's The General, there exists a testament to the astounding skill and artistry of all involved in making this masterpiece, and to the assimilative powers of all punk rock, and ultimately to just the way that music itself is constantly evolving and constantly surprising and constantly finding strange and madcap new approaches to soundtrack the fractal delirium of the human condition.
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