番長 Taste / - I dipped my comb in shochu and ran it through the hair of the night

Ethan Swan / JabsJabsJabs

Generosity is not a quality attributed to the zoney, head-nodding repetition of a record like ‘I dipped my comb in sohchu and ran it through the hair of the night” but 番長 TASTE have made the kindest, most humane minimal/no wave/art damaged record I can think of. Yes it is rudimentary, yes it is disruptive, yes it is boundary-testing and broken-apart and tense, but it’s also charming, deeply earnest and pretty. All seams visible, all glee shared.

‘I dipped my comb’ assembles the six songs from last year’s ‘Summer Nights’ CD; both sides of the 7” released in 2022 by I Dischi Del Barone; and four unreleased tracks. Writing about ‘Summer Nights’ last year, I said I learned a lot from listening to this band, particularly about “this dignity of persistence.” At the time, I was thinking of those ludicrous fight scenes that never end, say the steady progression despite the endless blows of ‘Old Boy.’ But the small trances and instantly memorable melodies of the LP in total got me thinking instead about the possibility of repetition without relentlessness. Like imagine “You Got Me” by the Theoretical Girls, the middle section of My Bloody Valentine’s “You Made Me Realize” or Sonic Youth contracting their way through “Swimsuit Issue.” Everyone is scowling, right? Hunched over guitars, sweat in their eyes, completely given over to the hammering, the rigidity. 番長 TASTE find the same brute, piston-like persistence, but replaces the scowl with a grin, a visible joy of discovery, of a connection being built through escalation. I don’t know another record like it, and it’s been a long minute since a record opened so many doors at once for me.