ANGEL'IN HEAVY SYRUP  IV  CD   (Monotremata)   14.98

Angel'in Heavy Syrup are four women from the land o' the rising sun who play like a bizarre cross between the Cocteau Twin s and the Butthole Surfers in the bathroom of a jazz lounge in Osaka. Sorta. Angel'in Heavy Syrup -- one of Japan's finest psychedelic rock bands ( and possibly one of the best bands of any kind in the world) -- return with a full-length album of all new material. The current lineup consists of vocalist/bassist Mineko Itakura and guitarist Mine Nakao, both of whom have appeared on all of the band's albums, and guitarist Fusao Toda, who joined the band in time for the second album. Naoko Otani provided drums on the album. This all-girl trio lays down some heavy duty, riffalicious, totally mesmerizing underground psychedelic rock bliss with GORGEOUS ethereal female vocals and a distinct Japanese delivery. Hands down, one of our ALL TIME favorite albums ever!!!! So, you wonder, what do they sound like? Well, that's a good question... describing them is easier said than done. Take the aforementioned psych bands of the flower-power era, mix in a large dose of folk juju, sprinkle on a smidge of free jazz, then season liberally with influences like the Butthole Surfers, John Coltrane, and various noise artists. Garnish with unexpected time changes, odd meters, impeccable technical skill (Fusao and Mine could play rings around nearly all the "hot" guitarists in American and European circles, and Mineko is not only an amazing bassist but one of finest singers in Japan) and lots of exotic-looking flowers.

Angel'in Heavy Syrup were formed in Osaka, Japan in 1990, and they are possibly the greatest band in the world. On their psychedelic side they are nfluenced by the likes of Gong, 50 Foot Hose, and Amon Duul, but they are definitely influenced by more recent, noisy contemporaries such as Hijokaidan and Masonna as well. Morita Doji, a Japanese pop-folk singer of the 70s and 80s, has also had a big impact upon them. Now defunct out-music label Monotremata Records (one of the great underrated labels of the last few years) graciously made this album domestically available in conjunction with the album's simultaneous release in Japan by legendary avant-garde label Alchemy Records. From the first blast of reverb-heavy psychedelic noise at the beginning of "First Love" to the fading burst of Echoplex that closes "Fate," the six lengthy songs on this album rank among the band's best work. All three of the musicians are in fine form here, with strong songs and stellar playing making this one of their best releases to date. To top it off, the deluxe packaging of the CD (with a sixteen-page booklet and artwork by Masahiko Ohno, guitarist of Solmania and Alchemy's lead designer) make this a highly attractive release - and for the first time, the band's lyrics are printed in English.