Asian Man

Japan’s Polysics might call this album Neu, but they really mean “no,” as in “no-wave,” the often floundering, idiot cousin of new wave. While most of the spacey no-wave set (Whirlwind Heat, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Liars, etc.) lose both the melody and the plot, Polysics’ minds might be out the window but they’ve still got enough sense to pilot the ship. For example, the opener “Go Ahead Now!” eclipses “spazz” by a couple of light years, but still maintains a proto-punk base even while flailing around in open airlock hysterics. Even the drunken laser beam fight of “MS-17” abides by its own twisted, established logic. Think D-Day in the Devo Army.

Moments of clarity come only twice. First, “Making Sense,” true to its title, is the most linear, driving rock song on the album. It’s a little bit of Bis and a whole lot of New Order. The track has lazy, long guitar notes, dance-punk rhythms and archaic synth clatter. The second is the similarly ’80s-inspired “I’m a Worker.” It’s got a very familiar pre-programmed beat and layered, breathy atmospherics. This song also happens to be the only Japanese language track on the album, which adds to the song’s mystique and is, frankly, a nice respite from the screech and wail of broken English surrealism — which is good on its own terms and in moderation.

Basically, this is the music that looks to edge out dance-punk in the near future, if the trend wind doesn’t start blowing from a different direction. Even if it misses the spotlight, Neu is an all-around excellent album from the gonzo side of rock.

Asian Man Records: www.asianmanrecords.com

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