Runs with scissors

Despite the messy playing, the deadpan vocals and the crunchy guitars, bloodthirsty butchers writes some pretty advanced songs.

On past albums, the line between verse and chorus were blurred, and on the band’s 2001 debut for Toshiba-EMI, yamane, the butchers needed anywhere from 6 to 9 minutes to lay out all their ideas.

But on Kooya ni Okeru bloodthirsty butchers, the Japanese indie rock trio has taken pruning shears to its songs. They’re simpler, faster, shorter — 4 to 5 minutes is realtively shorter than 6 to 9 minutes — and definitely catchier.

Sure, “happy end” and “Nagisa Ni Te” were decent singles off of yamane, but they don’t match the immediate appeal of “Saraba Sekai Kunshu” or “Goblin” or “Hooi” (listed simply as an arrow pointing north).

“dorama” (i.e. “drama”) possesses a playfulness, while “real/melodic” harkens back to the energy of the band’s first indie albums.

While yamane was a beautiful exploration of the band’s darker side, Kooya ni Okeru bloodthirsty butchers finds the trio kicking it out the way the always have. Coupled with some real studio finese, this album is perhaps the butchers’ most upfront and spirited performance.

There’s a lot that’s familiar on the album. Yoshimura Hideki’s guitar playing never quite locks into the beat, and Komatsu Masahiro isn’t exactly a human metronome.

But it’s that messiness which gives the bloodthirsty butchers its indie charm. Punk has never been about technical precision.

The band reigns in the momentum of the album on the final two tracks of the album, “Acacia” and “Jigoku no Locker”, by slowing down the tempo and concluding as beautifully as they did the last time around.

Still, Kooya ni Okeru bloodthirsty butchers is light years away from the lo-fi punk ambitions of the band’s earliest work 15 years ago. The butchers are still writing the same kind of off-key indie rock as before, but they’ve refined it and made it clearer.

In short, this is bloodthirsty butchers at its finest.