Animal Beat

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Lä-Ppisch's debut EP shows the group with the basic ingredients to become a success, but not the production or the risk-taking to pull it off immediately. Animal Beat is two tracks of upbeat ska surrounding two tracks that skank along pretty well, and show off singer Magumi's range, from punkish screaming to a low, basso profundo rumble, often in the same song within seconds of each other. (He also coaxes sounds out of his trumpet in the same fashion as David Bowie does from his sax -- unschooled but idiosyncratic.) Songwriting duties are shared by Ueda Gen and guitarist Kiyoshi Sugimoto. "Shuhaki Maseri" is probably the best song here, showing Ueda's penchant for melody and the band's ease with slow, thoughtful arrangements that conceal dark ideas beneath. The band would revisit these songs in the "sequel" to this EP in 1989's Animal II