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Editorial Review

CD Review: "Absolute Polysics"

"Absolute Polysics," the latest CD by the Japanese quartet Polysics, assails the listener with breakneck tempos, electronic glitches and raucous distortion. But the Polysics aren't sonic hooligans. They're just playful tinkerers, donning orange jumpsuits to fiddle with Western punk, synth-pop and speed-metal in their Tokyo workshop. The resulting contraption is odd, funny and very entertaining.

Aside from the predominantly Japanese lyrics, much of "Absolute Polysics" could have been built anywhere in the silicon-chipped world. The vocal-free passages are jittery and brazenly synthetic, in the manner of much contemporary club music. But the CD also features Nintendo-style sound effects and a few tunes that could only be Japanese: The bouncy "Cleaning," for example, sounds as if it could be the theme song for the latest anime import to conquer the Cartoon Network.

Named for founder and chief songwriter Hiroyuki Hayashi's first synthesizer, a Korg Polysix, the band revels in artificial timbres. But it jumbles such machine-generated sounds with flashy guitar solos, boy-girl harmonies (the band is half female) and the hollered choruses of such stompers as "Shout Aloud!" Polysics may dress like lab assistants, but the purpose of their experiment is simply to reconstitute the gleeful swagger of '60s garage-rock.

-- Mark Jenkins, Weekend (Feb. 2010)