Gotou Gotou LP
The debut record from GOTOU, an unabashedly MALARIA!-devoted trio from Sapporo, Japan—the lifting of the iconic split portrait motif from the back sleeve of MALARIA!’s 1981 12″ for one of the LP’s center labels, as updated with (I’m assuming) the faces of two GOTOU members, should be an immediate tip-off. Stark, severe rhythms are held up by repetitive bass grind and skittering drum beats, reductive no wave guitar clangs and scrapes sparingly, and deep, drama-tinged vocals (sometimes from one voice, sometimes from intersecting voices) weave in as a series of chants, moans, and howls that offer the only signs of emotion within this bleak musical landscape; you don’t need to understand the Japanese language to recognize that those emotions are largely just variations of anxiety and existential dread. The subtle electronic manipulations in “ワキ毛” and “Osorezan” play right into GOTOU’s faithful recreation of the surveillance state paranoia of ’80s Germanic post-punk, with comparatively kinetic tracks like “Wet背” and “ァギナ・ユニバース” slithering along the broken-glass-strewn floors of the NEUBAUTEN nightclub. I’m sold, and I guarantee that GOTOU will age better than CHICKS ON SPEED’s MALARIA!-minded early-aughts NDW/electroclash pastiche.