Japan Suicide from the city of Terni in central Italy didn’t warn us about the content as we were having the espresso No. 11 of the day. They should have. The envelope exploded in our hands and the whole block was suddenly filled with Italian post-punk fires and wires.
The band is one of the highlighted names of the new Italian post-punk generation that simply opens the route for the new wave of Pan-European post-punks. Along with other acts like Winter Severity Index, Christine Plays Viola, Clustersun, Two Moons, Soviet Soviet (to name a few), they’ve turned on the lights to their country’s underground scene that–not quite out of the blue, but with a strong heritage in their sonic luggage–has somehow “obliged” the fans, the dedicated media and talent buyers to mention the quality of their records.
Japan Suicide has performed many gigs across Europe, and will venture to North America in May for their first Canada/USA/Mexico tour. What a fresh band with a fathomless talent needs is a dedicated record label to support their music and manage their records, and J.S. found that support in one of the most important independent record labels, Barcelona’s Unknown Pleasures Records (UPR). When UPR published their We Die In Such a Place LP back in 2015, the road opened, their music engaged more audiences, and just a few days ago, the world was informed of a brand new 11-track Santa Sangre coming in mid-February.
We are overwhelmed that one of these notices hit Noise Journal’s inbox and in the aftershock we present it to you. Santa Sangre is perhaps the most cult movie by mastermind filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky where, divided into both a flashback and a flash-forward, the film, set in Mexico, tells the story of Fenix, a boy who grew up in a circus, and his life through both adolescence and early adulthood. A libertarian and provocative/psychedelic journey featuring the director’s signature touches on violence and vulgarity, the film influenced many people, including our artists here, who borrowed the title for their new record.
Without hearing it, let me mention the manifesto of UPR: “We spit from a great height on the idea of a system that reduces music to a minor role. Unknown Pleasures Records is the answer to the lifelessness and mediocrity of the current music scene.”
Being familiar with their releases, I was sure that the Japan Suicide release would follow that certain value of honesty and a great care in the production…it was all verified and sealed: The record kills with only a single spin–the first listening! “No-prisoners” post-punk music of high quality on the adored Italian rolling pace, that took me two hours before I started writing about it because of my repeat to enjoy and understand it better. I am amazed and thrilled by the band’s skills in writing such good songs. I’m also thrilled by their capacity to groove like no-tomorrow, and I am very satisfied with the solid sound they provide, too–a production that swings from the old-standards-bass-hooks to haunting keyboards that are not placed as fillers in music or as just an easy effect on sound, but really play a major role in the band’s haunted atmosphere.
I’m talking about the the spooky melodic presence. Without it, the song would go somewhere else. Like here, where Japan Suicide didn’t go astray but enhanced the Circle single with that glorious inspiration on keys. The song’s lyrics are inspired by Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle and scenes from the film The Wicker Man, such as the procession and the sect, relating to the novel in a different way, transposing hi-tech dystopia into an ancient ritual.
All of this was enough for Francesco Brunotti to direct a video that may give out some spooks and amusements, check it!
There are many songs in Santa Sangre that insisted on and battled for my vote of “the best.” I can’t. I can only recommend, when the link opens completely, to check and celebrate post-punk Italy with For Every Flaw, Blown Away, or Lost Daughter–with the astonishing post-rock melody on guitar, in a song of only 3:27–or Dealer, which is probably the most emotionally loaded song of the record. I don’t know–just pick one by chance and you won’t regret it. It is post-punk aiming directly to the center, not messing widely with other styles that would harm the whole.
You can check all below in the label’s official page on bancamp
Keep Up With Japan Suicide
Written by Mike D.