Japanese Fighting Fish – Swimming with Piranhas

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

Photo by Scott M Salt Photography

The highly anticipated third album from British aural dramatists  Japanese Fighting Fish is uncaged this week, a release which not only confirms that there is no other proposal like the London based quartet but shows the band hitting another plateau in their breath-taking sound and invention. There are few with the musical craft and adventure to match an imagination as daring as it is inimitable but Japanese Fighting Fish have it all in abundance and in full enthralling flow within Swimming with Piranhas.

Formed in Leeds in 2009, Japanese Fighting Fish had a great many hooked, including us, by the release of debut album Just Before We Go MAD two years later. A release experimenting with South American rhythms as raw vocals and dirty guitars played, its compelling success was eclipsed by its successor, the punk infused Day Bombs of 2011. Releases and years have seen the band draw comparisons to the likes of Faith No More, System of a Down, QOTSA, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, and Frank Zappa, but as evidenced once more by their latest triumph,  Japanese Fighting Fish really do stand alone in character and sound. Mastered by Tim Young (Massive Attack, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Elbow, and The Beatles ‘Love’ Album), Swimming with Piranhas is the band at its most eclectic yet and offering a collection of funk infested, theatrical exploits; quite simply rock and roll with the devilry and boldness of creative insanity.

Inspired in title by the real life wild experiences of vocalist Karlost Thompson and drummer Al Sweetman whilst staying in Ecuador with a Quechan tribe where they took a dip in the Amazon River, Swimming with Piranhas has ears and imagination swiftly gripped with its opening title track. A lone spicy groove teases first, it soon joined by broader sonic sighs and boisterous rhythms as the song increasingly expands into a hip swinging, rhythmically riveting magnet. Once the familiar, ever expressive and captivating tones of Karlost complete the line-up of creative cast, the imagination is taken on a beguiling off kilter ride. With kinetic beats and baroque scented organ shaped theatre adding to the ever shifting gait and mood of the encounter, the opener is sheer captivating as fiery and infectious as it is thought provoking and a great sign of things to come.

art_RingMasterReviewThe excellent start continues and hits another level with Egyptian Sunrise, the song a sultry tango of exotic mystique upon the driving throaty bassline of Matt McGuinness and the swinging bait of Sweetman. Impossible to resist getting physically involved, the song leads the body a merry dance with the imagination caught up in the creative tones and lyrical incitement of Karlost. Also swathed in the equally suggestive invention of Gareth Frederik Ellmer’s guitar, the song is a mouth-watering exploit soon matched in creative theatre by Provocative Cat. Funky with Parisian hues, the song flirts and dances with ears as the bass masterfully groans and Karlost paints the imagination like a vaudevillian showman.

New single For Queen Marilyn comes next, sauntering in on a raw riff and rumbling beats as vocals spread their instinctive drama and ascending energy. Soon its rapacious rock ‘n’ roll is ablaze with intensity amidst a hearty roar, switching between calm and volatile waters before making way for Close The Gate. An encounter which seems to mellow as it reaches climactic moments and erupts when you expect it to slip into alluring calms, the unpredictable song is a twisted treat but one soon outshone by previous single U Ain’t Gonna Win This. An exploration of split personalities also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is a fleet footed shuffle with another deeply contagious gurning  bassline from McGuinness courting the vocal waltz of Karlost and band. Taking addiction to a fresh level, the track mixes sweltering melodies and grungy textures with sonic guitar splatters and a virulent carnival-esque bounce.

Hard To Resist is a matching enslavement of body and appetite, its lazy yet snarling bass swing and gripping croon just two of the irresistible elements in what must be the next single. The track is glorious, reminding of little know eighties band, Zanti Misfitz as it throws its creative temptation around. A slip into a deranged XTC like pasture only adds to the fun and increasing seduction too.

Another funk sculpted adventure follows in the shape of I Got Time; its Red Hot Chili Peppers like romp infused with a Talking Heads like prowess, while On A Fall sonically shimmers as the eager beats of Sweetman fuel the pulsating balladry of voice and Ellmer’s resonating guitar enterprise. Increasingly more provocative and gripping with every listen, the track is yet another thrilling twist in the varying style and sound within Swimming with Piranhas.

The album is brought to an equally exciting and inventive close by firstly Dr. No-Sense and its noir spiced and increasingly bedlamic intensity. It is followed by the similarly deranged but skilfully reined imagination and creative resourcefulness of I Caught You Wandering for a bewitching end to another superb offering from Japanese Fighting Fish. Swimming with Piranhas takes the band and their one of a kind proposition to a whole new plateau, not just for them but for the British rock scene. Why Japanese Fighting Fish is not a name on so many more eager lips already is a bit of a mystery, now they might just be with this beast of a proposal doing the persuading.

Swimming with Piranhas is released 17th June across most online stores.

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk   https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 17/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Japanese Fighting Fish – U Ain’t Gonna Win This

JFF_RingMaster Review

It has been a long two years since UK psyche twisters Japanese Fighting Fish set ears and passions ablaze with their album Day Bombs; a time where the band has never been far away from ears at The RR to be fair but too long to wait for something new from a band who to that point had only brought something unique and invigorating to the British music scene. Finally the wait is over though with the extremely anticipated single U Ain’t Gonna Win This about to uncage its devilry, and guess what… Japanese Fighting Fish are still amongst the most imaginative, inspiring, and yes warped bands around today.

Really that is no surprise as their 2011 debut album Just Before We Go MAD was a bold and virulent escapade of creative devilment and sonic psychosis too; rich enslaving qualities taken to another level by Day Bombs two years later. It is a surprise that they alone have not made the Leeds-born, London-based outfit a house hold name and passion, and if you add an impressive live presence which has seen them play with the likes of Space Hog, Wild Beasts, The Stranglers, De La Soul, and UB40, as well as ignite venues in their own name and right, it is a mystery. Now with the exotic spicery and revelry of U Ain’t Gonna Win This things might and should be about to change.

Front Cover_Win This_RingMaster Review   A teaser for their next album Swimming with Piranhas which is scheduled for release at the end of March 2016, U Ain’t Gonna Win This takes all the prize elements of those previous albums and their hosts of singles, and twists and hones them into a new kind of JJF temptation. From its first step of its erotic prowl, the bass is sonically gurning and guitars splattering spots of sonic tempting on the senses and imagination. The distinctive inviting growl of Karlost is just as swiftly to the compelling mix; his unique tones courting sound and ears as beats from Al jab and probe the same. The virulent bounce to the track’s carnival-esque stalking has feet and hips involved from the off; its funk spawned gait and noir jazz air simply chains of seduction, whilst slithers of noise rock, alternative pop, and psych punk only thrill as they entangle the maelstrom of imagination and enterprise to matching success.

An exploration of split personalities whilst also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is an alchemy of devilment, an infestation of crazed ingenuity that creeps into and manipulates every pore and brain cell. The same applies in a different way to its companion on the single Queen Marilyn, the song a dirty grunge seeded blaze of desert rock with more than a scent of Queens Of The Stone Age to it, if a psychotic and bedlamic version. The track rumbles along, throwing out increasingly gripping hooks like sonic confetti, rhythms barging away within the mix too as Karlost spreads his sandy tones.

As in U Ain’t Gonna Win This, the guitars of Gareth Mochizuki Ellmer and Karlost captivate and provocatively suggest whilst the bass of Matt creeps with salacious intent through the swinging raps of Al. It is a combination united by the band’s off-kilter imagination and craft into creating arguably the best single of 2015 and an already impatient anticipation for Swimming with Piranhas.

The Japanese Fighting Fish are back and irrepressibly better than ever, and even more inventively deranged.

U Ain’t Gonna Win This is released November 13th via CDbaby @ http://bit.ly/1SNr0wL

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk  https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Japanese Fighting Fish: Day Bombs

pic by Scot Salt.

pic by Scot Salt.

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 1069396_10153078929340226_618406295_nfire 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.

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/

9.5/10

RingMaster 05/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com