# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Thee Michelle Gun Elephant - Collection

  by Andrew Carver

published: 17 / 12 / 2001



Thee Michelle Gun Elephant - Collection
Label: Alive Naturalsound
Format: CD

intro

Thee Michelle Gun Elephant are four sharp dressers from Japan playing rock’n’roll that echoes all the right kinds of music — early Who, The Damned, Blue Cheer and pub rock. They’ve been colonising th


Thee Michelle Gun Elephant are four sharp dressers from Japan playing rock’n’roll that echoes all the right kinds of music — early Who, The Damned, Blue Cheer and pub rock. They’ve been colonising the top ten lists of music critics all over, and if you missed their previous release on Alive, 'Gear Blues', or the smattering of singles and EPs ('Rumble', and 'Plasma Dive' are the two I’m aware of) you can check out this excellent compilation, culled from singles and their albums, including their latest, 'Casanova Snake', to see why. 'Pinhead Cramberry (sic) Dance', the first track, sets the mould for what is to come; drummer Kazuyuki Kuhara starts thumping, bassist Koji Ueno follows with a fuzzy descendant, guitarist Futoshi Abe adds a chunky two-chord guitar riff — a brief lead, the Yusuke Chiba sings a verse of Japanese in a matter-of-fact tone before screaming out the chorus “I don’t care, I don’t know!” or the title hook. By the time it’s over, everyone’s speeded up almost without the listener noticing and the song ends in a wild rush ... as the feedback echoes away, Ueno repeats his bass riff, then it’s on to the next variation of the recipe — four and a half minutes that feel like they could be two. The real secret to TMGE’s musical success is that they’ve hit upon the mix of speed, melody and energy right before music starts heading off in the direction of noisy scree. It’s too focused to be psychedelia, not fast or slow enough to be heavy metal ... it barely edges into the realm of punk because it lacks anything like affectation. It would be garage music, but it’s a shade too technically accomplished. Chiba is a first-rate screamer, with his appealing Wilson Pickett-like rasping voice, and he has a good grip on the two essential emotions of rock’n’roll, angsty heartbreak and swaggering scorn. The mangled English of the choruses and titles is all part of the charm — I actually thought Chiba was singing 'Limo for junkies' instead of 'Revolver Junkies' on one song until I looked at the track listing. The incredible syncronicity between Abe, Ueno and Kuhara pushes the songs along with frenzied precision. The production is also prime, with every player coming through crystal clear. I have a minor quibble that the liners don’t provide enough information about the where or when of most of the tracks, or any of the lyrics, as they did with 'Gear Blues.' Nice picks though, I particularly like the parody of the Who’s 'Odds and Sods' cover, except with the letters FU replacing RO on the helmets. There are songs called 'Smoking Billy' and 'Lily' if you need any more evidence that the Elephant are Who fans. TMGE are a back-to-basics band — it’s as if the rock’n’roll clock leapt from 1965 to 1976 then stopped dead. I’m just going to take the liner notes’ word for it that the band has undergone some “sonic evolution,” the only production trick I detect is the echoing vocals on “Out Blues.” Saying “If you like rock’n’roll, you’ll like this” may seem painfully short of specifics, but that’s all there is to say — or, as Yusuke Chiba would probably put it …“Yeeeeeaaah!”



Track Listing:-


Label Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/AliveNaturalsoundRecords
http://www.alive-records.com/
https://twitter.com/AliveRecords
https://instagram.com/alivenaturalsound/
https://www.youtube.com/user/JIMalive1



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