I passed what appeared to be a bowling alley in Osaka this morning when I noticed a bulletin board holding a bunch of fliers advertising various bands. I grabbed one and have since started researching the various groups pictured on it. The very first group I Googled turned out to be a winner – Cubismo Grafico Five. The first song on their MySpace page, “Left Right Up Down,” is spastic and unpredictable, bringing to mind American act So Many Dynamos.
That track serves as a sort of genre red herring though…Cubismo Grafico Five’s other MySpace songs hop-scotch from downtempo ska numbers to math rockish joints to covers of “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” and, uh, “Pomp and Circumstance” (the song they played at your graduation). This band seems slippery to classification. Another standout track “Mini Microphones” indicates they might be a more laid back version of fellow J-rockers Zazen Boys – both can hitch themselves to a groove and explode into something new at any given second.
A little poking around reveals Cubismo Grafico Five is a sort-of spin-off project devised by Gakuji Matsuda a.k.a. Cubismo Grafico. Matsuda’s solo work veers more toward electronics and samples (the Five provide him an opportunity to proper rock out) and his sound still can’t be pinned down easily. Plus, he big-ups Girls on his blog, so he’s cool in my book.