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Bondage Fruit - Bondage Fruit IV CD (album) cover


Bondage Fruit



3.48 | 48 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
5 stars 5 for 4.

In the early part of the 21st century, Japan is making a serious run at Italy and Sweden for my favorite sources of new music. Bondage Fruit is the clear flagship for that run. One of the few bands, in my opinion, that has yet to put out a questionable effort. Their fourth album may in fact be their best.

Known as a key piece in the Japanese Zeuhl movement for their earlier works, BF has strayed from those comparisons after dropping their vocalists. Being a fan of instrumental music, I am generally not hurt by such a move. But BF's vocalists were basically instruments rather than a source of prose. I was admittedly disappointed when I learned of their departure. But one listen of BF-IV indicated a stylistic shift that would not accommodate vocals. The underlying punkiness that coursed through eastern influenced rock of the first 2 albums had begun to fade with BF-III and all but disappeared with IV. The band now incorporates a more Westernized approach. By Westernized I mean adaptations of more blues oriented riffs, country influence and psychedelia.

The structure of the album is a masterfully constructed roller coaster of grand excitement and laid back haze. The opener, Minus One, is a percussive blast through abrupt starts and stops with funky fat guitar tones from Kido Natsuki. Prayer is reminiscent of the musical stylings of the background of a '70's cop drama. Screen Game is like a thrashing, toe-tapping bluegrass number that you can't help but smile at. Precision slop with twisted slide guitar and wailing fiddle. Storm Bird, Storm Dreamer slows the pace back down for all but Natsuki, who maintains a rapid shuffle strum throughout this soft ambient piece. Yuji provides an enchanting melody on violin. Sono-Bank is a 19 minute frantic blast of psychotic wah guitar and multi-percussion outrageousness. Old Blind Cat is a cute little song that sounds like continental drift had suddenly thrust Louisiana into India.

This is one of the finest, most tasteful and eclectic blends of international style ever created. A high 5 stars, absolutely essential.

Tapfret | 5/5 |


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