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Japanese Fighting Fish - Day Bomb

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 14 / 10 / 2013

Japanese Fighting Fish - Day Bomb
Label: Vandal Records
Format: CD


Urgent and compelling second album from improvisational lo-fi act Japanese Fighting Fish, which was recorded and mixed in garages and warehouses in their native London and New York

Following their 2011 debut album ‘Just Before We Go Mad’ which was based on South American rhythms and grunge guitars, the promise of a Dave Grohl-inspired garage album from London-based band Japanese Fighting Fish was intriguing. Two of the previous Fish line up have run away to join a samba band in Brazil, and the rest were inspired by a documentary that showed how the Foo Fighters recorded their last album in a studio in Dave Grohl's garage. The band rehearsed the album in a disused warehouse 'punking' the power from a street light before recording started in a friend’s garage. That's method musicianship right there. The final track ‘Senses’ was apparently thrashed out in a triple garage next to a meat packers just before it was sold, and the band completed the final take while someone round them wielded a tape measure and damp detector. There was a desire to write and record as quickly as possible, and a sense that the less than glamorous surroundings would give Japanese Fighting Fish a kick to get the job done. They were overheard one night by graffiti artist Cage One who promptly used the door of the garage as a canvas, and provided the image for the album cover much to the annoyance of the garage’s owners. So far so rock and roll, but all this left me worried the resulting album would be a little too rough and raw, so I am relieved that the band allowed themselves the luxury of mixing the album in New York. Even there it seems they were fated to work in less conventional surroundings. The producer had built his studio in an old taxi repair shop, so it was a sort of garage then. The experience has given the band many tales to tell, but is the final product any good? 'Bloody Fingers' is certainly a dark and menacing start, and 'He Doesn't Know What He Wants' has that dirty funk reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and an occasional drawled Bowie-sque inflection. Single 'They Lie' is like the best type of witty and spiky Electric Six offering, and its video was made for sharing on social media. For the first time in quite a while I feel the urge to go and make a mixtape (Yes, I am that old school) just so I can open with it. The song is a huge amount of fun, not a word I'd anticipated using up until this point. 'Greatest Excuse' is slightly hypnotic and 'Flick the King' has some killer bass. 'Ben' is sinister and 'Legs' is all stripped back heavy guitars, growls and screams. 'So Drunk and Wasted' is as chaotic as the title suggests, but 'Mister Mandolin' has an almost tender feel to it. Overall the album has an often frantic feel but not a hint of rushed or substandard production. The album is coherent, but each track manages to avoid sounding in anyway like you thought it might.

Track Listing:-
1 Bloody Fingers
2 He Doesn't Know What He Want
3 Greatest Excuse
4 They Lie
5 Flick the King
6 Ben
7 Legs
8 So Drunk & Wasted
9 Mister Mandolin
10 Senses

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Just Before We Go Mad (2011)
Fantastic debut album from experimental group Japanese Fighting Fish, one of the the stand-out bands on the excellent Leeds scene

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