The first Western release by the Japanese zeuhl group Bondage Fruit (gotta love a band with a name like that) is surprisingly placid and melodic for a style of music more usually known for its uncompromising ferocity. Of the first four tracks, only the opening "Holy Roller" shows much of a traditionally Asian influence, due to Yuji Katsui's skirling violin line. The next three tracks are a curious blend of zeuhl's aggression and an almost ambient element of grace and beauty, as on the gently flowing "Daichi No Ko," which for most of its seven-plus minutes consists solely of the intertwined wordless vocals of Aki and Saga Yuki gently supported by a fluid double bass solo. Even more strangely, "Hikou Suru Ko" features a melody and vocal line oddly reminiscent of the score of a European comic crime caper film of the 1960s. It's not until the last track, the 29-minute (over half the CD's total length) live workout "Récit," that the heat gets turned up. Recorded after both vocalists had left the band, "Récit" is a thundering, cacophonous instrumental workout featuring bracing electric guitar and violin interplay reminiscent of King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic period given a more aggressive noise rock edge. Opinion about this disc will likely be split down the middle, with listeners preferring either the calmer early tracks or the forceful closer; either way, this is an essential listen for fans of the style.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason