Pogo-ing To The Oldies
On The Polysicsâ€šÃ„Ã´ Now Is The Time! comparisons to early New Wave performers like Devo and Can are inevitable but the band merely uses those influences as a jumping-off point, taking their music in directions likely never conceived by those pioneers. Singing in Japanese, Engrish and their own made-up â€šÃ„Ãºspace language,â€šÃ„Ã¹ The Polysics wear their influences on their sleeves. What marvelous influences they are: pop-punk, surf music and old-school Nintendo themes, all thrown in a blender and dumped on your head. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s exhausting like a night out doing the pogo, which this disk will make you want to do. Listening to this disc recalls a night spent wandering around Akihabara, Tokyoâ€šÃ„Ã´s electronic district, a non-stop assault of music and electric lights and sounds. The effect is a kind of delirious fun in much the same way this record is — sometimes ridiculous, sometimes brilliant. Standout tracks include â€šÃ„ÃºJhout,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a not-so-subtle nod to Lene Lovich, and the ritalin-fueled rave-up â€šÃ„ÃºI Me My Mine.â€šÃ„Ã¹ â€šÃ„ÃºWalky Talkyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºMr. Psycho Psychoâ€šÃ„Ã¹ promise (and deliver) all the fun of listening to Devo or The Carsâ€šÃ„Ã´ first records while playing video games. â€šÃ„ÃºOh Monaliza!â€šÃ„Ã¹ has an electric hoedown flavor complete with a two-step beat and yodel that would fit in seamlessly with any Mario adventure.
The Polysics seem to absorb this aesthetic completely: even their CD cover is reminiscent of Devoâ€šÃ„Ã´s New Traditionalists or Kraftwerkâ€šÃ„Ã´s The Man-Machine with the band in belted red jumpsuits and radiation sunglasses. While some of the tracks misfire or get muddled down in cuteness, this bouncy retro approach is a refreshing alternative to the glut of Cure wannabes fighting for our attention of late.