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Review: Melt-Banana, Norwich Arts Centre, a mind-boggling soundtrack that shook the foundations

PUBLISHED: 11:33 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:33 07 June 2017

Tokyo duo Melt-Banana brought their combination of rapid-fire vocals and multi-fx guitar wizardry to Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: Supplied

Tokyo duo Melt-Banana brought their combination of rapid-fire vocals and multi-fx guitar wizardry to Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: Supplied

Archant

The Tokyo duo returned on their biggest UK tour to date and gave the kind of unique and unforgettable show that every music fan should experience at least once.

Tokyo duo Melt-Banana’s combination of rapid-fire vocals and multi-fx guitar wizardry is hard to describe and impossible to define but it has a visceral quality few bands can match as hundreds of fans found out on their welcome return to the Norwich Arts Centre.

The pair took to the stage like a couple of Manga heroes playing the soundtrack to their own mind-boggling adventure.

Guitarist Agata is a lean, masked warrior wielding his axe of a thousand sounds, most quite un-guitar-like. Vocalist Yako is an agile sorceress leaping about the stage as she delivers indecipherable lyrics at lightning speed waving a multicoloured magic wand – actually a controller for the laptop which has replaced the drummer and bass player in recent years.

An overture of bleeps and warbles like a Nintendo game slowly melting begins a sonic assault that is not easy on the untrained ear. But the duo’s sound has grown refined and sophisticated over nearly 30 years together.

Avant-garde screeching and distortion is offset with intricate melodies and quiet refrains contrast the sheer noise that has the venue shaking at its foundations.

Melt-Banana are not likely to be heard on daytime radio, or any station for that matter, but that has not stopped them winning fans making this their most extensive UK tour to date.

The relentless energy is infectious and the adrenaline fuelled show sweeps the audience into a sonic tsunami. The duo barely paused for breath as they tear through songs with names like Shield Your Eyes, A Beast In The Well Of Your Hand; Cat Brain Land and Chain Shot to Have Some Fun. A highlight is a set of short songs belted out back to back. Mostly under a minute, they are intense and invigorating haiku of noise.

After an hour, they politely take their leave having packed in more than most bands would manage in double the time. This is the kind of unique and unforgettable show that every music fan should experience at least once.

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