Super Junky Monkey

  • Super Junky Monkey
  • Cabbage (Japan. Riot) 1994 
  • Screw Up (TriStar Music) 1995 
  • Parasitic People (TriStar Music) 1996 
  • E-Kiss-O EP (Japan. Condor) 2001 
  • Songs Are Our Universe (Japan. Condor) 2001 

A couple more exports like this and the image of Japanese women as the timid flowers of a repressively patriarchal garden will be gone forever. The young Tokyo quartet takes random elements of hip-hop, metal, thrash-funk, punk, dancehall and pure noise and loads them all into a blast furnace from which grilled guitar (by Keiko Yamaiwa), thunderous rhythms (drummer Matsudaahh! and bassist Shinobu Kawai), stop-start cheers and roaring vocals (by Mutsumi Takahashi, who also supplies most of the lyrics) emanate in discontinuous blasts of loudly aggressive this’n’that. Except for keeping the tumult and sound pressure levels high, no two songs — especially the ten-second blares “Tamage” and “Revenge” — here are really alike. (Screw Up is the band’s second album; the first was the Japanese-only Cabbage.) “Buckin’ the Bolts” crosses L7 with Suicidal Tendencies for a punchy shoutalong, but “Bakabatka” showcases Takahashi’s trilling raggamuffin flow (in Japanese, naturally) and “Ukatousen” is a cagey rock-rap hybrid unlike anything attempted by Run-DMC or Anthrax. “Decide” funks up techno beats with guitars and urgent chants of “We must decide!”; “Where’re the Good Times” puts fancy Living Colour-styled syncopation underneath slick ’70s-voiced soul-rock; “We’re the Mother” updates Golden Earring with gothic chanting and funky vamping and stylized rapping. Get the picture? Super Junky Monkey bring the chops and enormous flexibility to their funhouse vision of modern music, but sometimes crazy shit is just crazy shit.

Parasitic People is more of the same — which, in this band’s case, means expanding farther afield on all fronts while firming up a more commercial center. Once you get through laughing at the chipmunk voices, you’ll start noticing how much of this seemingly random wall covering actually sticks.

Mutsumi died in 1999 and the group broke up. Songs Are Our Universe is a compilation.

[Ira Robbins]