My only recent knowledge of Japanese culture has amounted to a PlayStation game called Katamari Damacy, in which the main character has to rebuild the night sky using household objects because his dad, the King of the Cosmos, got drunk one night and knocked down all the stars. Gameplay amounts to nothing more than pushing around a magical orb that collects stuff like batteries, Mahjongg pieces, and cats, until your blob is big enough to hurl into the sky.
I can now add Deerhoof’s equally bizarre yet equally entertaining Green Cosmos EP to my list, not at all surprisingly planned as a Japan-only release. Though the band is finally rearing it on the States, the fingerprints of a drunken — or at least demented — cosmic deity are still smeared all over these seven tracks. ‘Come See the Duck’ tears the album open with a Stooges-worthy guitar riff, while the next few tracks consist of bubbly pop songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on Katamari Damacy’s shamefully addictive J-pop soundtrack. ‘Spiral Golden Town’ is a righteous James Bond theme, though it really translates to a Tony Bennett-squashing tribute to San Francisco as “California #1 music town.” Satomi Matsuzaki sings most of the album in her trademark Japanese squeak, for once presenting most of the words in her native language. But despite the fact that the lyrics are almost completely incomprehensible, none of the otherworldly hooks get lost in translation.