eX-Girl albums tend more to be great souvenirs after concerts than actual recordings to enjoy.
On the Japanese trio’s messy — literally and figuratively — debut Heppoku Pou, it was hard to distinguish improvisatory genius from amateur noise-making.
When Chihiro, Kirilo and Fuzuki started incorprating tunes into their music — as they did on their second album, Kero! Kero! Kero! — an uneasy marriage of musical deftness and novice bravado formed.
eX-Girl’s “a capella” album — somehow implying it’s not a real third album — proves without a doubt that the band knows a thing or two about music.
Once again working with producer/co-writer Hoppy Kamiyama, eX-Girl has produced an amazing work of vocal prowess. Sort of.
Each of the Girl’s sopranos won’t give Jesse Normyn or Kathleen Battle any sleepless nights, but it might give Enya, Värttinä, Les Mystere de Voix Bulgares and the Geinoh Yamashirogumi nightmares.
A hint of eX-Girl’s a capella muscle was flexed on Kero! Kero! Kero! in the form of “Tofu No Uta (Tofu Song)”, a seemingly complex, contrapuntal work that somehow managed to include the phrases “So what?” and “Shut your mouth!”
eX-Girl has taken the simplicity of this jumping point and multiplied it dozens-fold. With the magic of multitrack recording, they’ve gone beyond not worrying and being happy.
Along the way, they make a few nods to some apparent international influences. “Souvlaki” and a re-working of the group’s, ahem, single, “Disco 3000,” borrow liberally from Bulgarian women choir arrangements. “Zozoi” might have been written by either Meredith Monk or Pauline Oliveras. And “Jet Mogura” includes an almost kecak-like chant that fires off a number of cartoon heros, include Pikachu of Pokémon.
Big When Far, Small When Close is one giant step toward realizing eX-Girl’s full musical potential. It’s a real album this time — something you can enjoy listening to while the trio books its next set of American dates (supposedly in October!)