While Fukuoka is undoubtedly the cultural capital of the southwestern island of Kyushu, the music scene in (relatively) nearby Kumamoto also produces more than its fair share of great music, and Doit Science are most talked about band in the city right now.
Quite what makes them so exciting is hard to pin down. Lo-fi alternative music with weird time signatures is an ever present feature of local scenes up and down the country, and yet Doit Science still stand out. There are perhaps some similarities with labelmates Nhhmbase in the combination of off-kilter arrangements and wide-eyed, impassioned vocals. Certainly one point that stands out about their music is the way that where most bands of this type feature vocals that yowl and scrape, Doit Science sing out clear and strong, like Nhhmbase often launching into a disarming falsetto, and making use of multiple vocalists to create a sort of Beefheartian barbershop vibe, awash with staccato interjections and sometimes deliberately landing off-key.
And despite the delight the band seem to take in throwing musical obstacles in the way of the melodies, the beauty of some of these songs still shines through. Toshi Keikaku (Delicate Mix ver.) in particular is probably the most melancholy and affecting song ever written about urban planning, but even the more uncompromisingly disruptive tracks like Tasogare (Sweet Death ver.) and Information is Just a Needle (Plan B) reveal a keen ear for unconventional hooks that nevertheless worm their way into your brain.
Listening to Information sometimes feels like the CD is skipping, but there’s also a clear grounding in accessible, blues-based chord progressions at the heart of a lot of the music. As well as Captain Beefheart, there’s also something of Syd Barrett in the combination of sweetness and sheer oddness. It may sound like rock music turned inside out, cut into pieces and reassembled by a hyperactive child, but it still is rock music, and it does a marvellous job of sounding great without compromising either its accessibility or its avant-garde principles.