Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai - Sweetness And Light EP

5 songs
25:38 minutes
***** ****


If there were a price for the most unpronounceable name, Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai would certainly be a very hot contender. The Japanese might of course disagree, as their name stands for “you are completely tired”, but I will refer from now on as AWSTS for them. Consisting of _ (formerly of Kirameki) from Japan, Gnomefoam from England and bunny from Scotland, the three-piece met while releasing solo material on the Dutch label Rack & Ruin. It would be preposterous to call them a band, as they probably work collaboratively over the Internet, yet the final result sounds much more homogenous than one would expect from their modus operandi.

The EP starts with Forsake, a track that was also featured on their label’s Captain Woof Woofs' Guitar compilation. The opener is a perfect example for AWSTS’s approach. It begins very experimentally, more a collage than a song, but gradually they insert ethereal vocals and even a melody that reminds of Radiohead, Cornelius and psychedelic Pink Floyd. Instead of playing straightforward pop music, AWSTS hide their compositions behind a deconstructionist noise wall, which makes it all the more fascinating to discover what lies behind.

Next up is Cataract, like the opener rather short with three and a half minutes, before the EP’s centre piece Bearskins shows what the three artists are capable of. In just under nine minutes, they concoct an epic that combines the most different influences from avant-garde to melodramatic and from independent to electronica. Especially the quirky beat three minutes into the song makes for a peculiar Asian atmosphere. The EP ends with the title track and My Drive, two longer melancholic songs that sum up what this great but unfortunately so far overlooked collective has to offer.

Considering how much crap has the power to capture the attention of millions of fans, it seems unfair and unexplainable why AWSTS keep such a low profile so far. With no homepage to call their own and a very little visited Myspace presence (they don’t even have 20 friends, and their tracks have hardly been listened to more than 10 times), they should reconsider how to market themselves. Or maybe they want to reach only the most select music lovers. Friends of avant-garde music with a predilection for melodies should absolutely pay these guys a visit. Sweetness And Light is a prime example of deconstructionist pop music that keeps a nice balance between experimentalism and songwriting. Normally I am somewhat wary of collaborative bands that only meet over the Internet, but AWSTS show that this kind of creativity can come up with more than just worthwhile efforts. Highly recommendable!

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