Otoboke Beaver - Itekoma Hits (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Otoboke Beaver

Itekoma Hits (2019)


Itekoma Hits is exhausting. It’s important to know before jumping in. The four women who make up Otoboke Beaver are so unbelievably talented and insane and frenetic that the twenty-seven or so minutes that make up this album grab you immediately and never let you go.

Admittedly I do not know much of what is said on Itekoma Hits as about ninety-nine percent of the album is sung in Japanese. But it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to get swept up in the energy and emotion radiating from Otoboke Beaver. Initially, I was sure it was guitarist Yoyoyoshie and her nonstop cacophonous riffs that was responsible for the aggression. The back-to-back “Bakuro Book” and “What Do You Mean You Have Talk to Me at This Late Date?” are so intense and shift so quickly, it had to be her. On “Bakuro Book” especially, one of the least intense of the bunch, the guitars still leave you feeling a sense of unease. But then I attributed it all to the unrelenting rhythm section. Bassist Hiro-chan and new drummer Kahokiss are equally insane. Hiro-chan actually gets to groove a little more than the rest of the band, which is welcome in its brief moments. Kahokiss… does not. She's always playing at 100mph. The same goes for singer Accorinrin. Her intensity on every song is only raised when the gang vocals back her up. Then everything starts to spin, and you have to embrace the raw energy that these four create as a unit.

“Don’t Light My Fire” is a good jumping off point. It has force but also shows how willing Otoboke Beaver is to change pace and flip the script at any moment. And when they collectively chant “Go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go!” it makes total sense. The album is full of moments that catch you off guard. “Introduce Me to Your Family” and “Bad Luck” are all over in the best ways and, if at any point you think you get what they’re doing, they change it up and sweeten the sound.

Itekoma Hits is one of the best, most aggressive record of the year. Many of the tracks have been previously released by Otoboke Beaver, but these fourteen flow so well into each other, that fact is almost hard to believe. I encourage anyone who is a fan of super-charged punk rock to check it out. You won’t be disappointed. But you will be drained.