There ought to be medical warnings on this album.
“Do not play while under extreme emotional disturbance.”
“Do not play during rush hour traffic.”
“May cause increased blood pressure.”
“Do not drink with milk.”
Actually, I’m joking with that milk warning. The rest of them apply.
downy’s fourth untitled album — let’s nickname it Mothership — epitomizes the meaning of the word, “agitated.”
It’s the sound of a nervous breakdown, of loose ends coming apart, of a person’s state of mind just before he goes utterly bugfuck.
It’s also the loudest album downy has yet released.
The band’s previous untitled album — which I nickname Cloudbursting — was meditative by contrast, no less tortured but far more introspective.
Mothership is balls out.
The opening track, “Ishi”, is mixed so loudly, all the instruments bleed into a mess of distortion. It’s “Meitei Freak” jacked up tenfold. The tension doesn’t let up on the robotic rhythm of “Δ” (i.e., “Delta”.)
“Underground” offers the album’s first moment of reprieve, on a song that could qualify as a single, if downy actually released singles.
But no track epitomizes this nervous state of mind than the free jazz of “Fresh”. downy comandeers a Bitches Brew style of be-bop, and man is it nerve-wracking.
The rest of the album plays out in a similar, albeit slightly less frantic feel. “Thank you Raishun” thins out the packed textures on the album, while “Kurayami to Sanka” rivals “Underground” for single-worthy status.
The rhythm section of drummer Akiyama Takahiko and bassist Nakamata Takuhiro really stands out. Throughout, the pair navigate some precarious, syncopated rhythms with laser precision. “Mokuren” is a workout for Nakamata alone.
Mothership breezes by at a brisk 32 minutes, but given the intensity with which downy jams into each track, half an hour is lengthy enough.
Any more, and this album would be a health hazard. As it is, it’s just crazy. Good crazy.