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Daikaiju (Reptile Records)

Reviewed by DJ Johnson Not to be confused with Los Straitjackets, who wear Mexican wrestling masks and tend toward the a blending of Ventures and Link Wray influences, Daikaiju wear Japanese Kabuki masks and play thunderous yet exotic instro surf that owes more to 3rd wave bands like Satan's Pilgrims, The Mermen and The Tiki Tones, as well as the inspiration of Japanese monster movies. After a few EPs and limited-distribution CD-R, the Huntsville, Alabama quartet went back in the studio and re-recorded their best songs to reflect the evolution of their sound, which is less diverse than it once was but is now far more powerful and exciting. Nearly every track hits with hurricane force, yet never at the expense of an exotic melody. Most bands are either/or in that regard, but not Daikaiju. "The Trouble With Those Mothra Girls" roars along on a stampede of tom toms and one of the coolest bass lines I've heard in a while, and it's a shock when everything but those elements stop and you realize it's not going as fast as you think. Mmm, natural sonic trickery from the Kabuki boys. It's quite intoxicating in the best way, so much so you'll probably be unaware of the switch to the next track, "Sharkakhan," even though it's quite different except for the insistent bass/drum undertow. It's a powerhouse album that rivals anything the genre has produced in the last few years. One more full length of strong originals and these guys will be up there with the top bands of the world instro scene.

© 2005 - DJ Johnson