The Rabbits


The Rabbits The Rabbits LP

Sometimes the most genuinely out-there sounds are made at the hands of musicians who think they’re playing it straight—Syoichi Miyazawa, the creative force behind Tokyo’s the RABBITS, apparently had little contact with the vibrant underground punk and experimental scenes surrounding him in late ’70s/early ’80s Japan, starting out as an acoustic singer/songwriter before his vision independently evolved into the warped, jagged free-punk mindfuck on display here. Outside of a handful of flexi appearances, this is the first RABBITS material on vinyl, collecting tracks from two self-released cassettes (1983’s X1(X) and 1984’s Winter Songs) recorded with a cast of collaborators that Miyazawa tried to mold according to his exacting, freaky aesthetic. If there’s connections to be drawn between the RABBITS’ caustic art-splatter and various noisenik antecedents, it’s not because Miyazawa was in any way influenced by or even aware of any them, which only makes the resulting racket even more surreal—“Bāchan No Bājin de Ittemiyou” is a fiery meltdown of desperate wails, looping, cavernous bass, and sheet metal guitar clang slathered in blown-speaker fuzz, crawling through the debris left behind by Japanese no wave practitioners like FRICTION and PABLO PICASSO; the menacing post-punk grind and anguished, echoing vocals of “Bye Bye” and “Yasai” twist into distorted funhouse mirror reflections of PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED’s Metal Box; “Seiteki Ningen” is a pounding, frayed-nerve industrial punk nightmare that could unsettle early CHROME. I wouldn’t bother listening to other punk bands either if I was producing something this wild…