Wednesday, May 24, 2017

tricot -- 3

I don't have too many opportunities to use Japanese stateside, so I hope you won't mind my getting a little pedantic. While the band is referred to as tricot in its US marketing materials (so I used it in the title for SEO purposes), their actual name, トリコ, is pronounced "toriko." Tricot is, apparently, a type of French wool and "toriko" could mean either "captive" or "rice powder" or maybe nothing at all -- maybe the band just liked the song (it's hard to say given how they chose to write it out.) With all of that out of the way, this is a great album no matter what language you speak.

While a comparison to Shonen Knife feels obvious, it's apt in its own right. In addition to their forebears' obsession with naming their songs after food, トリコ is subversive in their directness. While they might not have needed to hide their instruments from their parents like the members of Shonen Knife, it's still not exactly kosher for a bunch of women to have their very own band without any male instrumentalists. These themes are particularly strong in "Wabi-Sabi," a Japanese aesthetic in which the absence of a certain object completes the room (though it should not be surprising that in this case, they're not singing about an object.) "Yosoiki" ("good manners") similarly doesn't shy away from calling out male obtuseness -- a pissed off breakup song is simply not something you hear very often over there. But トリコ isn't all angst -- "Namu" ("amen") is delightfully bizarre.

トリコ's truly astonishing mid-song tempo changes conveys the band's mastery in any language. While the '90s singer-songwriter, punk, and J-Rock influences are clear, the band's exploratory approach feels more like jazz than anything else. They're a delight and I really hope they come over to the US soon. I'd listen to hours of "Namu" for the opportunity.

トリコ -- Official (it's mostly in Japanese), Facebook, Purchase from Top Shelf Records

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