The key reference points that are most inescapable when confronted by Fukuoka avant-rock trio z/nz are This Heat and Sonic Youth. You can hear both within the first few seconds of Nanka Festa’s opening track Happy Dance, and they remain constant touchstones throughout, even if the band themselves claim ‘90s US post-hardcore as a more direct set of influences.
More than simply a collection of influences, however, the group’s own curious internal dynamic is what gives the music its own distinctive character, the juxtaposition of Toya’s complex and highly technically proficient drumming with the overlapping twin guitars of Sassy and Tori, whose unconventional and defiantly untechnical style nevertheless allows them to pick out unexpected harmonies with each other. The tension between harmony and discord extends to the rhythm as well, with the guitars and drums struggling to hold together, teetering on a precipice that they constantly threaten to tumble over, but always pulling back in the nick of time.
The title Nanka Festa means literally “something festival” and the song titles themselves are all cryptic with no obvious bearing on the music they describe, most likely assigned via a sort of, “Hey, shout out the first word that comes into your head on the count of three!” method. The overarching feeling Nanka Festa evokes is one of disorientation coupled with a hard-to-place sense of fun. “I’ve no idea what this is, but it’s setting off fireworks in my head and my feet want to move like a drunk goose on a speedboat,” – it’s that sort of album.