It’s been six years since Melt-Banana’s last studio album, Bambi’s Dilemma, and a lot has changed for the band in the interim. 2011’s Tohoku earthquake stalled fetch‘s release, then the band’s long-standing bassist, the diminutive Rika mm, left the band in 2012. Deciding to continue on as a duo (the band hasn’t had a permanent drummer for some time now), guitarist Agata and human machine gun vocalist Yako have pressed forward. Thankfully, too, because fetch is the band’s best album since 2003’s Cell-Scape.
Bambi’s Dilemma was a huge departure from Melt-Banana’s noise-core, grimy punk sound; simply put, it sounded too over-produced and poppy. The second half of that album played up to what the band has become known for in their 20+ year history: quick-hitting, messy guitar-addled 30 second quips. With fetch, there are no games played, no punches pulled, and no ear drums left intact. Many words can be used to describe Melt-Banana’s sound, but the phrase that fits them best is discordant dissonance.
Take, for example, fetch‘s intro, “Candy Gun.” The album lulls listeners into a false sense of security as the sound of waves lapping are paired with what sounds like a CD skipping as a chiming beats lightly between the ears. The ghost of Rika’s heavy bass tones soon come in as Agata’s guitar to seemingly dance and skip over the bass lines before the drum machine kicks in, further setting the rhythm of the song. Almost two minutes pass before Agata’s frenetic guitar playing rears its head, colliding head-first with Yako’s high-pitched yelp (yes, all of Melt-Banana’s songs are in English). Suddenly, the third act begins with guitar, bass, and drums exploding into one another while Agata’s guitar scratching pairs with laser-like effects that shoot left, Yako’s staccato spreading right, and the destruction of the rhythm section simply crashing down beneath the two.
fetch features a Melt-Banana that has eased off of the gas pedal a little bit. This is, after all, a band that recorded a raw, purposely lo-fi debut album (Speak Squeak Creak) in famed Chicago producer/audio engineer Steve Albini’s basement back in 1993, but also began exploring a higher fidelity in sound and song structure 10 years later in Cell-Scape. fetch, then, is the combination of their early days’ aggressive, grind-core sound with their recent increased focus in melody – discordant dissonance at its finest.
Melt-Banana will be embarking on their first North American tour since 2011 in support of fetch on the aptly titled “2 do what 2 fetch” North American Tour beginning on October 16th in Vancouver and running from coast to coast until November 16th in Oakland. I’m curious to see how their live performance has changed with the absence of Rika bouncing along on a bass that’s 3/4 her size, but considering Melt-Banana’s insane fan base, the set shouldn’t suffer too much, if at all. Full tour dates and tour poster can be found below. I’ll hopefully see some of you guys at their Chicago date on October 27.
2013-10-16 Vancouver, BC at The Biltmore Cabaret
2013-10-17 Seattle, WA at Chop Suey
2013-10-18 Portland, OR at Dante’ s
2013-10-19 Boise, ID at Neurolux
2013-10-20 Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge
2013-10-21 Denver, CO at Laimer Lounge
2013-10-23 Minneapolis,MN at Triple Rock Social Club
2013-10-24 Milwaukee, WI at The Cactus Club
2013-10-25 Grand Rapids, MI at The Pryamid Scheme
2013-10-26 Cleveland, OH at Grog Shop
2013-10-27 Chicago, IL at Double Door
2013-10-28 Pontiac, MI at The Crofoot Ballroom
2013-10-29 Toronto, ON at Lee’s Palace
2013-10-31 Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer
2013-11-01 Brooklyn, NY at Saint Vitus
2013-11-02 Providence, RI at AS220
2013-11-03 Boston, MA at The Sinclair
2013-11-04 Washington DC at Black Cat – Backstage
2013-11-05 Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506
2013-11-06 Atlanta, GA at 529
2013-11-08 Dallas,TX at Club Dada
2013-11-09 Austin, TX at FFF Fest
2013-11-11 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad
2013-11-12 Phoenix, AZ at Last Exit
2013-11-13 Los Angeles, CA at The Troubadour
2013-11-14 San Diego, CA at The Casbah
2013-11-15 Pomona, CA at The Glasshouse
2013-11-16 Oakland,CA at Oakland Metro Opera House