Yamantaka//Sonic Titan: YT//ST

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan: YT//ST
Psychic Handshake (2011)

Understandably, most people would run a mile if I said “check out these Canadian girls with Japanese heritage, who’ve made a ‘rock opera’ inspired by Otaku culture, Buddhism and prog rock.”

Avoiding is what any sane person would do, but that’s their loss. YT//ST is a bucket load of fun, and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan sound wayyyyy better than Boris have since Pink.

Wipe any trace of The Mars Volta from your mind and replace it with some concept driven rock made in a dirty garage. Throw in some Krautrock rhythm and repetition and you’re on Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s radar. From the Iron Butterfly/Deep Puple- esque opening track through to the scuzzy jam A Star over Pureland there’s a shambolic thread running though these tracks, which gives the album an experimental edge. When they break out into extended ‘jams’ these girls aren’t showing off their chops, they’re exploring the possibilities of noise. The cutesy vocals make YT//ST even odder still. The jazzed-up organ solo that rises from the fuzz of Crystal Fortress over a Sea of Trees absolutely kicks ass.

If there’s a key influence it’s that of Boris, whom the girls have referenced in interviews. This sounds like a much more focused rendition of Boris’ mediocre Smile album; a mix of shoddy ballads, blown out fuzz and driving drums. YT//ST‘s tracks are bridged together with odd soundscapes, like any good rock opera, but thankfully the girls forgo the stereotypical 100-minute opus for a tight 31 minutes that’s over all too quickly.

Go on. Treat yourself.

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