Ever since Just Before We Go MAD tantalised and teased the ear back in 2011, an eager soft spot for UK taunters Japanese Fighting Fish has been waiting patiently for the band to bring forth some more of their devilry to devour and lust quietly over. Now the Leeds hailing, London based quartet return with their second album Day Bombs and quite simply it far surpasses hopes and expectations bred during the wait. Consisting of ten unique and inventive temptations, the album is pure refreshment to the ear and the UK alternative rock scene, so much so that it is almost a swipe at the lack of ambition fuelling the efforts of so many other bands. Boldly adventurous and unashamedly refusing to conform, the release is a scintillating mischievous triumph and poised to steal album of the year awards.
With two of its members swimming away (sorry could not resist) to join a samba band in Brazil, the remaining pair of Karlost and Gareth Mochizuki Ellmer from watching ‘a documentary on how the Foo Fighters recorded their last album in what effectively was a high-end studio in Dave Grohl’s garage’, decided to go down the same road with this their second album. Using several ‘skuzzy’ garages in Leeds and London on limited funds, the band with Joe John Flannery and Phil Keating now enlisted, went to work creating Day Bombs, eventually shooting over to New York for its final mixing in a studio built in an old taxi repair shop by a friend of the album’s producer. The result is a masterpiece of imagination and contagious sonic belligerence crafted into one of the most riveting and expressive joys this year.
Whereas their debut had a Latin temperament and carnivalesque vaunt to its theatre, Day Bombs unleashes a punk and noise rock clad fire to its breath and sound, sinews and rhythmic enslaving as potent as the at times caustic but always tempting melodic flames which lick at senses and thoughts throughout the individual dramas. Vocalist Karlost returns with his expected one of a kind tone and delivery yet also has a greater control of its intent and flavoursome incitement. From the moment opener Bloody Fingers starts tempting the ear with a dance of rhythmic enticement around a great throaty bass lure attention is alert and licking lips, especially once Karlost offers his almost theatrical delivery. Immediately the sense of something different is rife, the guitars riling against thoughts with hungry riffs whilst a sonic siren call flirts through the feisty surface and touch of the song. Firm without being aggressive and heavy without bludgeoning down doors it is an impressive and stirring introduction to the album.
Whereas there is a touch of Engerica and The Dropper’s Neck to the track the following He Doesn’t Know What He Wants walks in with a swagger not out of place on a Mike Patton composition. With electro kisses playing on the muscular yet respectful canvas and the bass especially gracious with its predatory voice, blazes of sonic fire and melodic raucousness stir the track into a sensational wash of creative knavery and primal seduction.
The two singles from the album approach to lay down their traps for the passions next. First up is the exceptional Greatest Escape with its Foo Fighters like whisper within a sinisterly romantic narrative, though whether it is supposed to have that menace we will have to learn. With a Slavic lilt to the band vocals and Cossack like bounce to its gait, the song is an irrepressible lead into the album for newcomers backed up just as potently by They Lie. Starting like Mud meets the Sex Pistols but soon unravelling its own form of diablerie as Karlost arguably for the first time on the album fully unveils his melodramatic mischief, the song is a gem and challenges He Doesn’t Know What He Wants as the pinnacle of the album. By its departure there is the shadowed roguery of an Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster adding extra pleasure and might to ensure you just need to have one more listen before moving on.
Both Flick The King and Ben stretch the album and passions further, the first with its discord laced sabre like riffs and mesmeric rhythms casting a rich hue around the ever enthralling vocals before they all unite into an infection causing stomp and its successor through a noir coloured venture of musical and lyrical intrigue and impossibly magnetic ingenuity, a noise driven Melvins or The Fat Dukes Of Fuck like bait adding extra flavour.
A Queens Of The Stone Age attitude and sultriness gently coaxes Legs to add more variation and exploration to its fertile trickery, song and vocals grazing and antagonising with resourceful inspiration whilst So Drunk And Wasted takes a louder essence of Homme and co with a touch of Therapy? into the overall maniacal brilliance of Day Bombs.
The Vandal Records release takes its leave with firstly the so–so Mister Mandolin, a gentle acoustic/vocal song which is so low in sound and production that it barely makes an impression sadly and the sizzling closer Senses. A burning furnace of noxious sonic intent and raw ear scorching intensity which almost suffocates the vocals of Karlost at times, it without finding the heights of the previous tracks is still a tempest of a conclusion to a simply cracking release.
If you were won over by Just Before We Go MAD, you will pee your panties as Day Bombs makes that victory seem barely an appetiser to this sensational alchemy.
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