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PoiL - PoiL Ueda (as PoiL Ueda) CD (album) cover





4.05 | 29 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Here we have the latest project from RIO outfit PoiL, who have combined forces with Junko Ueda, a vocalist and satsuma-biwa player from Japan, to create a new work based on the 13th-century Japanese epic tale "Heike- Monogatari." Ueda is well-known exponent of Japanese medieval epic storytelling, and here we have his vocals and stylings over the top of the complex experimentation we have all come to expect from PoiL, who have now moved to a quartet with Antoine Arnera (keyboards, vocals), Boris Cassone (guitar, vocals), and Guilhem Meier (drums, vocals) bringing in Benoit Lecomte on acoustic bass. I know nothing about traditional Japanese music and even had to look up what a satsuma-biwa is (a pear-shaped lute in case you were wondering), so in many ways this album seems almost other-worldly to me.

There is no way this should work, as there are two distinct and distinctive musical style crashing into each other, but while this may seem somewhat sacrilegious to connoisseurs of the Japanese style, to my Western untrained ears this comes across as incredibly powerful indeed. "Kuj˘ Shakuj˘ - Part 3" is nothing short of a triumph with crunching and crashing RIO from a band on the top of their game somehow blending in with the Ueda to create something which is driving, dynamic, reflective and incredibly powerful. I do wonder how the album was put together, as both parts are quite separate from each other yet somehow make total sense at the same time.

PoiL Ueda have been touring, and there will be a live album released later this year, which based on this, promises to be very special indeed and is something I am already looking forward to. This will certainly not be to everyone's tastes, but for those who are willing to look beyond expected norms then this is something to be savoured.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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