I’ll admit — I blame Nakao Kentaro for busting up Number Girl.
He was the guy who wanted to leave, and recognizing a spell would be broken if any one member of Number Girl were to depart, the band called it quits.
I miss Number Girl on the days when Mukai Shuutoku thinks he’s something he’s not. (Avant-garde improviser? Um. No.) I miss Number Girl on the days when Tabuchi Hisako gets lost in the bloodthirsty butchers mix. (Helloooo, birdy!)
So of all the members who have the most to prove, I was expecting Nakao to knock my fucking socks off. And secretly, I was hoping he would.
Of all the post-Number Girl projects to emerge, SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS is by far the most impressive.
I’ve already summarized the band’s sound: toddle with a better singer and a stronger sound.
Another way to put it — take Number Girl and replace Mukai Shuutoku’s dark eccentricity with a brighter but no less dischordant sound. SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS is more similar to the Pixies than Number Girl ever was, despite a cool cover of "Wave of Mutilation".
Shikakui Vision bursts out of the starting gate and doesn’t let up.
Singer Kayo from the band Belters provides a pouty swagger as frontwoman. She can sound demure, but when the music reaches a climax, she can unleash a wail.
Nakao himself shows off his chops on bass. His playing is a lot more nuanced and far more flashy than what he offered with Number Girl.
He’s all over the place on "Hizumi Loop", and on the breaks of "phychic dummy", he plays a robotic running line that fails spectacularly at being jazz. (That’s a good thing, by the way.)
Drummer Kanno Kenji doesn’t possess Ahito Inazawa’s rhythmic precision, but he can make a noise that complements Nakao well.
And og’s guitar sounds fucking large.
As engrossing as Kayo is, the band does a great job throwing in some male vocals on "Nagaresha Hanabanaresha" and "Indipiina Altenative Box". The interplay between Kayo and (presumably) Nakao feels organic on "Nagaresha Hanabanaresha".
The first half of the album pushes hard, one boisterous track after another. The band doesn’t let up until close to the end. "Sofamire" starts off sparsely, but as the song progresses, it gets crushed under a mountain of distortion.
"Zipy" indulges in a more pop sound that the rest of the album, while "Indipiina Altenative Box" takes the loud-soft-loud approach to an extreme.
An electronic remix of the album’s title track provides a nice break from the thrust of guitar, bass and drums.
Shikakui Vision is easily one of the strongest releases to emerge this year. All the songs are strong, and the band shows off a terrific, big sound.
Nakao may have busted up Number Girl, but it made way for SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS. And the world is all the better for it.