Look Directly Into the Sun – China Pop

TooKoo’s demented Take Me Home is the best Franz Ferdinand rip-off I’ve ever heard, even pipping original inspiration Take Me Out for the screeching, slightly out of synch chorus.

 

 

Look Directly Into the Sun – China Pop

http://www.invisiblechina.com/ http://www.bertus.com/

 

An interesting LP indeed. Martin Atkins of PiL and Killing Joke fame, (as well as making this LP's sister in China Dub Soundsystem) has collated what he feels to be the best of Chinese popular music onto one fabulously strident collection.

 

There's a bleak, post-punk feel in a lot of the music, but luckily it never sounds smug and complacent, or too studiously copied - there's always the feeling that the bands showcased are straining at the bit. There are moments where you do pick up on obvious reference points – The Fall's muse certainly informs China Dub Soundsystem's Pink 09. And a fabulous early Cocteau Twins-style guitar sound adorns Snapline's opener Close Your Cold Eyes...  And for further evidence M'Lud, look no further than PK-14's Storm Eyes; an intense affair, very much in the style of Josef K, but hey... it's all good fun.

 

There are some great performances on here; great live takes too, (a lot seems to be live recordings of one sort or another). Joyside's Dang is a cracker, a sloppy rockabilly scream-along whilst TooKoo's demented Take Me Home is the best Franz Ferdinand rip-off I've ever heard, even pipping original inspiration Take Me Out for the screeching, slightly out of synch chorus. Fantastic. Hang on the Box's Shanghai is a funny/brilliant live take employing the phrase "Lemme In Lemme Out" over the most simplistic of musical backdrops. It's like an old Pylon record or something.

 

For sheer inventiveness though, it's a hard LP to beat, even if the genres are familiar to us. For example Subs' What More, starts its musical life as a reflective, slightly paranoid Gothy thing before collapsing under the weight of one of the heaviest choruses known to man. It's near genius Goth rock. China MC Brother's trippy rap Jaijung is a blistering collage of hammering Chinese vocals and sampled noises, whereas White's Song 5 is a great live instrumental, employing musical phrases from Krautrock and a peculiar Chinese scale in equal measure. Don't ask why that came to mind, you'll just have to listen. Maybe it's the scale. For full-on Chinese strangeness, Voodoo Kungfu's mix of ultra heavy guitars, plainchant and occasional bouts of Mongolian throat singing is hard to beat.

 

If you're just hankering for an uncomplicated good time, there are plenty of great, stupidly endearing slabs of teen pop; witnessed with Caffe–In's Mario and Peaches and The Scoff's Nasty (which is a glorious blast of tinny Stooges/Saints nonsense), whereas Queen Sea Big Shark's Hold the Line is slobbering, girly pop that can't be arsed getting out of second gear, fabulous. And Rococo's We Just Free is a sublime ska/pop ending to a great collection.

 

I really recommend you check this LP out.

 

Words: Richard Foster