Music » Music News

Endangered Species



The Chinese Stars
A Rare Sensation


Thirty years ago these uncanny albums would’ve been released on a major, high-profile label like Island or Harvest to great critical acclaim and they both would have gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies. The fact that those days are gone forever is a sad indictment which proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s the independent record labels that rule the day.

Ladies first. Ex-Girl is three Japanese women who rock harder than anyone you’ll hear this year. All singing, all dancing, all totally insane, they’re a hyper-hormonal thermonuclear cross between the Sadistic Mika Band and Led Zeppelin. To cite just one example, their seismic “Pejuva” is a cross between “It’s More Fun To Compute” and “My Name Is Prince” that makes “When The Levee Breaks” sound like “Fire And Rain.”

Even better, despite having a mere 24 words’ worth of lyrics, “The Letter From Mr. Triscuits” is an eight-minute trippy transcendental art rock extravaganza that’ll put many a European prog rocker to shame.

Then there are the seriously unhinged lyrics, which run rampant through this riotous work: “Wake up your guys! Too late for you! One last sunrise, then you’re all through! Okay campers, it’s time to go! Pack your suitcase, kiss your mommy!” Now imagine these loony lines being sung full bore in three-part Andrew Sisters-meet-Lene Lovich a cappella harmony and you’ll know why I’m in love with Ex-Girl’s particular brand of mental machine music.

Now for the gents, who are just as good in their own demented way. Suffice to say that the song titles on A Rare Sensation say it all: “Cheap City Halo” … “Electrodes In Captivity” … “Girls Of Las Vegas” … “(Love) And The Electric Chair” … “Dressed To Get Blessed”… I tell ya, the whole album just reeks of such delirious debut albums as Roxy Music and Here Come The Warm Jets and Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

These guys and dolls are gonna go a long way, so grab yourself a butterfly net and catch ’em while you can.

Words worth, geddit?

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at [email protected].

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