by Matt Keim
Otoboke Beaver are making punk music that actually feels dangerous. The all-female four-piece plays fast, starts and stops on a whim, and layers in an obscene amount of gang vocals. The overall effect is pure adrenalin, capturing the IDGAF that has always been the ethos of punk, but often seems missing. Their new album, Itekoma Hits, pushes its way into your head, shoulders past any intellectual thoughts, and batters itself senseless against your brain.
The riffs and beats are a pandora's box of punk and hardcore from decades past, and the lyrics are either in Japanese (i.e. fully incomprehensible to me) or purposefully mispronounced English. Despite the difficulty parsing the lyrics, the rush of listening to four people pelt hell-mell through their songs having the time of their lives is such a high, that needing to understand what they're yelling seems very unimportant. The music begs to be felt on a visceral level, and from the screamed “Mean” to the whispered chant of “Don't Light my Fire” they make sure they are heard. Other standout moments include the one-two punch of "I'm Tired of Your Repeating Story" into "Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome no Meshi," as well as the pop-melody-filled "Bakuro Book."
Otoboke Beaver have been lauded for their previous music, and it feels like they are on the cusp of even more attention with this new album. With that attention, they have also been thrown into the genre of feminist punk. They have chosen to mostly sidestep expressing any agreement or disagreement in response to that classification. Regardless of how you approach it, what is immediately apparent to any listener is that Otoboke Beaver don't care one bit about being anything but themselves, and that is the coolest, most punk thing of all.