Not as sweet as it sounds.
Love shouldn’t sound like a car crash. Meeting a new friend shouldn’t sound like one either. Yet, Tokyo’s Endon somehow manages to relate new relationships and friendships to the grating screeches of failing brakes and colliding vehicles. Boy Meets Girl, their latest release and first on Chicago indie label Thrill Jockey, lies at the strangely beautiful confluence of discordant instrumentation and conceptual mastery. Much like the other albums in Endon’s discography, Boy Meets Girl primes ears to analyze noise as if it were words, due to vocalist Taichi Nagura’s providing of piercing shrieks in place of actual lyrics. What you end up with is eight tracks of intense earsplitting clamor, marketed for its relation to love—so claims the album’s press release—but packaged in a short collection of mentally dismaying chaos.
The album’s title track kicks things off with incredible levels of reverb and feedback. It’s like a Spector-esque wall of sound with the buttery tones of Ronnie—think of it more like the weird chamber you wake up in a Saw film. Sound attacks you from undisclosed directions, not allowing for any real amount of comprehension. That quality proceeds in the short bursts of “Heart Shaped Brain” and “Born Again,” with Nagura essentially squawk into the mic like a metal bird. At times, it’s difficult to decipher between the racket coming from Nagura and the ruckus coming from their machines, but there is more to Boy Meets Girl than its inability to be silent. “Love Amnesia” has the most discernible rhythm to it, while “Red Shoes” is essentially scream-free and fairly psych leaning. As back to back tracks, they introduce some momentary respite before leading into the cacophonic closer “Not for You.”
If you’re able to find love in a car crash; to hear amorous tones in a dungeon of commotion, then sure, Boy Meets Girl does fall in line with its other descriptions out in the music world. But to the attending ear it’s nothing but good, solid noise, filled with love, hate, and every other engulfing emotion.