Number Girl

School Girl Distortional Addict

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Number Girl are touted in the Japanese music scene as the national version of Pixies/Hüsker Dü, and with the song "Pixie Du" it couldn't be more obvious that the band was aware of their status. The main influence on School Girl Distortional Addict, however, seems to be Shellac, although where this band is cold and acerbic, Number Girl actually sound positive -- it's like Steve Albini had a good day, but didn't want to quit his day job. Mukai Shutoku does a number of weird things with his voice, rasping and crooning and hollering his way through the songs, the riffs are jagged and include a lot of abrupt turns, but the vocals are buried in the mix (kinda like Isis'), and the songs, for all their indie rock ambition, never stop being catchy -- a fact that perhaps explains why so many J-rock bands, right up to Asian Kung-Fu Generation, consider Number Girl as a huge influence. Just like with Pixies and Hüsker Dü, the sound of Number Girl isn't exactly copied by anyone, but the whole idea that you can rock out and still be melodic was, indeed, picked up on by a lot of Japanese musicians. School Girl Distortional Addict isn't a perfect record -- it still feels generic in the grand scheme of things -- but Mukai and the gang actually pieced together a quintessential alt-rock album, leaving compositional snobbiness at the door, but still far out-stepping the boundaries of conventional pop music.

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