It was weird going a full year without a release from Japan's top punk queens TsuShiMaMiRe, but after cranking out album after album of sweet, adorably brain-melting punk music for seven straight years the trio made up of Mari, Yayoi, and Mizue definitely deserved to rest on their laurels a bit and take a well-earned break for most of 2014. Now fully recharged the Chiba-based band have returned with their latest monster of a record: Abandon Human. This is yet another prime example of why all other punk bands should cower in fear whenever these ladies tread the musical atmosphere.
The album opens up with "Human Coating," with a bass line from Yayoi that would make the likes of Lemmy and Nick Oliveri weak in the knees. As vocalist/guitarist Mari coos along, she slowly transforms into a tigress out for blood. The song swirls you into a whirlpool, where you cannot escape from the band's trademarked cute and dangerously spiky melodies. Drummer Mizue has her moment in the spotlight during "PEOPLE," as she slams on her kit like a crooked cop on the prowl. Here the trio come together to create a song that starts off gritty like a 70s porn, transforming into a chaotic display of violence.
The most fun TsuShiMaMiRe seem to sound on this record is during "Fantastic Adventureland," a fine blend of Sublime-like reggae ska that dives into a madhouse of caffeine-hyped looniness. It's Banksy's "Dismaland" put to song, and whether you think that's a good thing or not depends on how you feel about the mysterious artist's latest installation. Follow-up "Hang Out!" saunters with a relaxing mood, like a bunch of friends bumming about town or sitting around just chilling in a room having a good smoke. The trio gets their dance on with "Abuku Tatta," which borrows its hidden keyboard melody from a certain Eddie Murphy cop franchise, and has a chance to act a tad silly with a kazoo solo.
Album closer "Kono Shunkan ni Kako ni Naru" somewhat wraps everything up nicely with the band bidding adieu, but it cuts the listener off just as they're expected to hear one final message. In a way it feels like TsuShiMaMiRe is teasing its audience with what's to come, and while Abandon Human is a nicely barbed-wired package it may leave some wanting just one more musical morsel. Mari, Yayoi, and Mizue are pros when it comes to being playful to their fanbase, and when the time comes they'll be prepared to unleash another wrecking ball of kawaii punk. Until next year perhaps, but for now TsuShiMaMiRe have marked their territory once more with a mighty roar, a wild bang, and some sugar-coated riffs.
Album review copy provided by Mari Kono. Available October 7 on CDJapan.co.jp and various music outlets.