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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

swarm's arm

To call swarm's arm 'The Japanese Belle and Sebastian" or "The Japanese Pastels" would be laziness on my part, but it's hard to deny that there are strong similarities. The vocal style, the tunes, the melodies, the endearingly shambolic nature of their set, do tend to point in this direction. However, like the keishiro iwatani band there is more to swarm's arm than simple homage. Having two guitarists and a drummer is hardly new, however they also employ a little box that looks like the original Nintendo Famicom console and creates a percussive plinky-plonky sound. In lieu of any technical knowledge I'm going to have to call it a plinky-plonker - if anyone knows what it's actually called please post a comment and tell the world. The plinky-plonkerist, the guy on the left with the pink t-shirt is possibly the least active man in music since Neil Codling 'played' keyboards in Suede. Still, this band is far greater than the sum of its parts and, simply put, they were great - a double-barrelled blast of indie-pop and boy-girl vocals, backed up by, of course, the plinky-plonky thing. Luckily I was able to buy a copy of their self-titled CD and they are as good on record as they are on stage. Find it, go and see them, see if plinky-plonky man moves - it's all good.