Say Psych: Album Review: Japanese Television – EP III

Japanese Television don’t surf, but if they did, it would be on a swirling wave of reverb-drenched organ, garage-rock guitars, hypno-motorik bass and pounding, ritualistic drums. The band formed in 2018 through a shared love of fuzz boxes, Joe Meek and UFOs and together they invented “Space Surf”. Upon discovering it already existed, they reinvented it. Taking the primal stomp of early garage bands and the wild, sonic wheeling of later psych oddballs, Japanese Television mix in strange, rare instruments and homemade effects pedals to create something as alluring as it is unique. Today sees the release of their new EP III on Chicago based label Tip Top Recordings.

Their 2019 Marc Riley BBC 6 Music Session spread their cosmic, beachy gospel far and wide and they also made ‘Best of the Year’ lists by the likes of Gideon Coe and Amy Lamé. They sold out shows across the UK on their last two tours, along with highly-billed festival appearances across the UK & Europe, including Lewes Psych Festival and Rotterdam’s Left of the Dial.

Preferring to work in a cold, dusty, village hall somewhere deep in the wilds of the east British countryside, Japanese Television once again recorded live to an old 8 track machine with The Wytches’ Kristian Bell following the success of EPs I & II which both sold out first and second pressings immediately.

EP III kicks off with the otherworldly psychedelic lead track ‘Bee Cage’, an expansive, groove-laden aural treat that encapsulates the bands rhythmic jams that tantalised ahead of the full release with vibes reminiscent of Holy Wave who are doing something similar on the other side of the Atlantic. ‘Martian Soup’ is other worldly to say the least, with a distant, distorted guitar riff battling an ethereal organ medley for dominance. ‘Falling Spikes’ channels, a distinctly Eastern vibe due to the scales used and the clever use of instrumentation creates a track as different from its predecessors as you could get. ‘Hot Sauce’ continues in these vein and the two tracks make for a heady concoction that takes hold and doesn’t let up. Concluding ‘Moon Glider’ combines bits of all that have gone before and reworks them into a dreamy number, inspiring hazy soundscapes of lazy beach evenings.

Japanese Television have a sound that is constantly growing, evolving and changing, they could never be accused of being boring. Their cosmic glow remains as extraordinary as ever and this release is set to only increase their popularity.

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