Top 20 Releases of 2014: No.14 – Teashikuchibiru – Punch! Kick! Kiss!

Punch!Kick!Kiss!

CD, River Whale Age, 2014

While a lot of the music on this top twenty rundown is a representative of one scene or another, existing both as a discrete musical entity and as a marker in a wider musical context, Tochigi-based duo Teashikuchibiru are right out there on their own. They are original.Teashikuchibiru no Theme (live)

Using only acoustic guitar, violin and vocals, they make a little go a long way, and Punch! Kick! Kiss! is impressive not least for the diverse range of different ideas and sounds they’re able to express with their minimal setup. Magaru is probably the closest thing to shoegaze you can do with an acoustic guitar and violin, while O.W.W.O takes diversions alternately into chic Shibuya-kei-style pop and playfully annoying P-Model-style new wave. Some kind of distant relative of hip hop shares space on a track with haunting, Celtic folk melodies, and Shiroi Hikari/Shiroi Netsu pays sly tribute to The Velvet Underground (White Light/White Heat, geddit?)

The most obvious recurring musical motif and the one they seem to have the most fun with is the twin vocals, which overlap, engage in games of call and response, and sometimes simply battle for space in the music. New Error recalls some of the most wilfully eccentric, motormouthed, squealing vocal gymnastics of Ni Hao! Peri overlays both vocals one over the other, while Hada to Hada strips away everything except the vocals, using of layers of delay loops to build up a madly chattering musical collage. Elsewhere, Kimi ga Hakkashiteiru is a proper, straightforward, harmony-drenched love song.Teashikuchibiru: Peri

While sharing some elements in common with other offbeat, punkish acoustic bands like Suichuu Sore wa Kurushii and Folk Shock Fuckers, Punch! Kick! Kiss! sounds like nothing else released in 2014, and from start to finish it is packed with surprises and delights.

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