Brace Yourself for the Frenetic Punk of Japan’s Otoboke Beaver
The Kyoto quartet premieres their new album 'ITEKOMA HITS' in full before its April 26 release.
Photo by Jumei Yamada
Formed in 2009 at Kyoto University’s music club, the four-piece Otoboke Beaver has been carving at the edges of confrontational punk across three albums and a handful of EPs and singles. ITEKOMA HITS, their fourth, feels like the best encapsulation of their uncompromising vision; it’s as unhinged as it is unpredictable. Taking already-released songs from 2016’s Bakuro Book EP, their 2017 Love Is Short EP, their 2018 single “anata watashi daita ato yome no meshi,” plus seven new tracks, the 14-song LP broadcasts what makes the band great by being loud, in-your-face, and deliriously fun.
Though half of these songs have already been out in previous Otoboke Beaver releases, ITEKOMA HITS boasts unexpectedly seamless sequencing. All of the tracks, which come in well under a half hour in total, soar with the same unnerving energy thanks to the pummeling rhythm section of bassist Hirochan and drummer Kahokiss, and the breathless vocal performance from singer/guitarist Accorinrin. She thrives on repetition and has her band back her up with screaming gang vocals like on “6 day work week is a pain” where she sings in Japanese, “Working 6 days a week is not good, no good / Working 6 days a week is no good. Can’t stand it. / Working 6 days a week is not good, no good.” It captures the mind-numbing mundanity of an office job perfectly.
Elsewhere, the especially ferocious “I’m tired of your repeating story” Accorinrin seethes in rage, “I’ve heard it, heard it, heard it, heard it, heard it, heard it” before launching into a curdling scream mid-song. Like all of these tracks, it’s a lot to take in a single sitting but it’s also very cathartic like all good punk music. In a statement, Accorinrin explained the LP to Noisey, writing via a translator: “Our aim was, if someone were to ask, ‘What should I listen to?’ I want an indecisive person to be able to choose it without hesitation. We named it ‘Hits’ in that sense. ‘itekoma’ means to beat, to hit etc. and I think it suits how we’ve progressed as a band.”
Stream it below and preorder the whole thing here.