archive review originally posted on the losing today site c. 2002
(Fat Cat Records)
At the tail end of last year, just when you thought you’d heard all you needed to in 12 months, one of the most unassuming 7”s around dropped through the letter box. Packaged in a plain brown sleeve, ‘All you need is love was not true’ dished out a torturous assault to the senses. Not exactly what you’d call a spiritual moment but certainly something to give belief that in a world of manufactured mush music, that somewhere out there bands existed who were prepared to push the boundaries. At the same time the single proved to be the perfect inaugural release for Fat Cat’s singles series.
Based in Oita, South Japan this trio not content to give a double barrelled helping of pseudo violence, a month later brought the artillery with them in the form of the blistering debut long player ‘Tomorrow never comes’. This ear piercing doom-ridden shocker was like the end of the world being replayed in a frenetic surge of sonic catastrophe. Bleached with pure white hot feedback aggression, it pointed to the Velvet Underground in unruly mode, re-awakened the lost trail last seen with My Bloody Valentine, tinged with prime time riot era Jesus and Mary Chain with the additional dessert flavouring of Merzbow added to the chemical destruction for impish fun.
Six months down the line and with rumours abound that they have enough material to keep a small independent retailer busy and pushing for release schedules to be freed up, Japan’s most irreverential noiseniks unleash the ‘Murder License’ to bloody the ears and shatter any notion of comfort.
If anything ‘Murder License’ listened to as a whole, is a more toned down affair than its raucous sibling. Underneath the grit and sonic roughness a hint of melodic mastery is at work, although it should be pointed out that you’d have to strain your ears to detect it. That said, ‘Murder License’ almost makes sense, even if it does seem at times akin to making holes in a classical piece of highly prized artwork with a pick axe, at least you can’t deny that the Xinlisupreme trio don’t keep you on your toes.
Opening with the title track, itself sounding as though it was conceived in a static storm. ‘I drew a picture of my eyes’ has its passion and life almost obliterated beneath a tidal wave of critical mass velocity taking the whole art of noise concept to its very zenith so much so that the whole thing hangs precariously by the merest of threads. ‘Front of youth’ on the other hand suspiciously sounds like two different tracks grating against each other producing a fractious gloss.
‘Sakae’ provides an equally catastrophic display, harsh unchecked aural atrocities fight for space amid the maelstrom violent sonic execution, all at once sounding like the re-invigorated 90’s style Killing Joke in full manic flow. ‘I.T.D.O.O.M.’ cools the pace vividly, an ethereal space station hum meanders a drone like path with alien style atmospherics. ‘Countdown’ remarkably finds Xinlisupreme surfing close to Euro disco anthem designs with twisted proportions, a looping and almost rhythmically groovy mover portending to the future maybe of the wayward sound. Last but not least the beautifully drawn ‘Nameless Song’ reveals a hitherto tender side to their canon, a gentle reprise like piano dominated ballad, tranquil like the calm after the storm as opposed to before it. The future of sound, you better believe it.