The Mad Capsule Markets - 1997-2004

There appears to be an influx of noisy Japanese bands around at the moment. We have the likes of Electric Eel Shock, the 5,6,7,8's, and the wonderful but insane Polysics. However it would seem that leading the way would be the Mad Capsule Markets, who are already releasing a greatest hits album, whilst the others are only just beginning to establish themselves. If you already know of this band and are a fan, then read no further, as you will love this album. The band have even stuck on a special bonus DVD full of their videos, which I suspect up to this point have been rather difficult to acquire if you do not live in Japan.

If you have not been exposed to this kind of music before it is a difficult sound to describe, noisy (and I mean noisy) Electro-punk seems to cover the basics of it. It just sounds very different. For first time Mad Marketers I would recommend a more accessible track, one like Pulse, which has a more catchy punk sound to it. Whilst some of it does sound like the soundtrack to a late night video game, it is refreshing to hear good music from such a strange and different culture. These kinds of bands are amazing to watch live, they always appear to have so much energy on stage.

Seeing as how this is a collection of the band's best stuff, there really are not any bad tracks on here. One of my favourite tracks is Tribe, which sees raw screaming vocals and heavy guitar riffage set over a fantastic electronic base, really making all the sounds work together perfectly. As I mentioned before, Pulse is probably one of the better known tracks, it is more commercial; it has been around the clubs for a few years now and I am sure it has been used on a Playstation game before. Tracks like Island are more laid back (for part of the duration anyway) but I believe the 'noise' element of Mad Capsule Markets is part of what makes them work so well. The album is great track after great track; I really can not criticise it at all.

You may have noticed that the Japanese to English translation can be dodgy at times, so reading the lyrics is always fun too. For example the lyrics to Island 'Get a beer. I think I need some cheer me up. Make a toast to the fluffy clouds in the sky'.

If you think you might enjoy this kind of music, I would definitely recommend buying this album, as it serves as a perfect introduction into the world of bizarre and wonderful Japanese noise. Right I'm off to watch the dvd!

The Mad Capsule Markets 1997-2004 is available now through Gut Records Ltd.