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Punk / New Wave - Released April 26, 2019 | Damnably

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When the English label Damnably Records released the 2016 compilation Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver, it made it easier for those outside of Japan to hear exactly why the Kyoto band had such a fervent fan base. More proof arrives with Itekoma Hits, which collects several of their late-2010s singles and EP as well as several new songs, all of which deliver plenty of Otoboke Beaver's signature ferocity and velocity. The album's previously released tracks still sound as great -- and disarming -- as when the band first sprang them on unsuspecting listeners. A minute and fourteen seconds of raging vocals and vertiginous riffs, "Akimahenka" is an example of how Otoboke Beaver make most other bands look lazy with the sheer amount of ideas they hurl at their listeners in the blink of an eye. On "Bakuro Book," they combine pogo-ready verses with singsongy choruses into a highly volatile form of pop that continues on its B-side "S'il Vous Plait." Otoboke Beaver's flair for making their pummeling attacks sound both furious and gleefully liberated is in full effect on "Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi" and "Love Is Short," where they glue together shards of hardcore and noise punk with just the barest hint of pop. Meanwhile, "Introduce Me to Your Family"'s zigzagging momentum is a master class in tension and release; each time the band builds up the song and tears it down again, it's more satisfying. Otoboke Beaver add more detail and sophistication to their music on Itekoma Hits' new songs. On "Bad Luck," it sounds effortless as they shift from a tightly wound groove to a brief outburst to a lilting bridge complete with three-part harmony; "I'm Tired of Your Repeating Story" is equally witty, beginning its indelible refrain again just when it seems to be over. Fortunately, Otoboke Beaver don't sacrifice any of their brashness for cleverness: the revved-up guitars and vocals on "Don't Light My Fire" sound like they're daring each other, while the whispered chant of "go to hell!" that closes the song ensures its message gets across. The band's intentions are just as clear on "6 Day Work Week Is a Pain," where they convey moments of grinding boredom and piercing frustration with hairpin turns. Itekoma Hits doesn't leave listeners a moment to catch their breath -- or grow bored. Arriving a decade after Otoboke Beaver formed, it suggests they're becoming bolder and more surprising with time. ~ Heather Phares
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Rock - Released March 11, 2016 | Damnably

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Punk / New Wave - Released March 8, 2019 | Damnably

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Rock - Released March 24, 2017 | Damnably

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Punk / New Wave - Released March 22, 2019 | Damnably

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Rock - Released February 23, 2018 | Damnably

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Punk / New Wave - Released April 12, 2019 | Damnably

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Rock - Released April 6, 2016 | Damnably

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Rock - Released January 29, 2016 | Damnably

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