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Hot post-punk alert! Or perhaps extremely cold post-punk alert is more appropriate, as I can practically see my breath indoors while spinning Gotou’s debut. They’re a trio from Sapporo, Japan, and their sound is both very cool and very cold, but not because of any aesthetically goth signaling so much as the tone, shape and delivery of their songs. Bass usually grounds any rock group, but here’s it’s often the only thing you can hang onto, which works well through their bluntly hypnotic melodies, often little more than a short slide up or down the neck. The drums are rigid and sinewy, the guitar scrapes like a skeleton’s hand across a window, and the vocals are appropriately disaffected and urgent – sung mostly in their native Japanese, I may not understand a word but I certainly feel what they’re trying to communicate. The label references Mania D and Malaria! as bearers of similar sounds, and while I agree with that assessment, I’m also reminded of The Xx (it’s that spacial distance between guitar and bass used to create the groove) and the early ’80s Japanese no-wave / experimental punk scene. Gotou certainly would’ve fit in amongst RNA Organism, Mad Tea Party and Salariedman Club on the Awa 沫 Foam compilation, which is not to say that they sound like a retro act so much as that their spindly post-punk sounds as fresh today as those luminary post-punk artists still do. Great stuff! -Yellow Green Red