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Sadistic Mika Band - Sadistic Mika Band CD (album) cover


Sadistic Mika Band


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3.76 | 6 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Strange and fascinating things often happen when Occidental pastimes are filtered through the Oriental mind, as any fan of baseball or action cinema can tell you. Rock 'n' Roll too can get somewhat lost in translation between West and East, and in the debut LP by the premier Japanese band of the 1970s it emerged as a mirror image of itself: easy to recognize but reflected backward, and weirdly distorted around the edges.

The album is hardly their proggiest. But it remains their most authentic recording, presenting a unique band in its native habitat, far removed from any foreign interference. My own well-preserved (vinyl) import is annotated mostly in hieroglyphic ideograms, but the garish tropical artwork and imperfectly translated subtitle (sic: "It's a Sweet Songs for Lovers") provide context clues to the music itself, which runs an enthusiastic gamut between kick-ass blues, lovelorn ballads, glam rock posturing and teeny-bopper pop, often with a groovy "shoo-be-doo-wop" background chorus.

Na´ve cross-cultural mimicry? Or sly tongue-in-cheek pastiche? It's hard to say for sure, which is part of what makes this album so much fun compared to the band's more polished later efforts. They would quickly be linked to ROXY MUSIC, and no wonder: compare the gatefold sleeve insert here, with its kitschy beach frolic band portrait, to the likeminded feather boas and sci-fi apparel of Bryan Ferry and company. The Sadistic Mika Band wasn't playing Progressive Rock yet, by any definition. But the music (and the musicianship) on their first album is entirely credible on its own polyglot terms, and deserves nothing less than four brightly colored stars.

[...A quick personal postscript. So how did a sheltered kid from suburban Northern California first hear about this band? From a picture on the back cover of the QUIET SUN album "Mainstream", in which BRIAN ENO can be seen wearing a SMB sweatshirt. You couldn't ask for a better endorsement than that...]

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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