Lying in bed the other night I realized I was totally remiss in 2004. Ascending to the position of Music Editor at Nightspots meant I had the power to preach about my favorite band. Yet I've only mentioned them quickly in passing. Shame on me.
Pizzicato Five isn't an easy phenomenon to describe. 'Kitch-pop deconstructionalists' has to be my favorite quote about their style. They have a bright, shiny, pop flavored sound that's funked up and down, and pushed beyond the limits of inventiveness again and again. To hear them is to experience something new each time. They are addictively satisfying, wonderfully unique, and so very Japanese in both sight and sounds.
In 1979 two Japanese university students, Konishi Yasuharu and Keitaro Takanami met at a local music society meeting. Teaming up with Ryo Kamamiya they formed a band. Taking time to find the right vocal fit, in 1984 they happened upon Mamiko Sasaki and debuted their first single 'Audrey Hepburn Complex.' It was a fierce and a fantastic beginning.
By 1990 they Mamikosan and Ryosan both left the group and the brilliant Maki Nomiya joined as lead vocalist. Talk about diva..Makisan is THE diva I most want to be like in the world. Anyway, in 1994 Matador Records signed them and their true stardom was born stateside, with their Japanese fanbase already totally addicted to them.
'Five by Five' is the pivotal domestic Pizzicato Five record, with five luscious tracks. The biggest chart-topper in the U.S. was 'Twiggy Twiggy/Twiggy Vs. James Bond'. Every alternative station was blasting it's happy hook in the mid 90's.
'Made in USA' from 1997 revamped a couple tracks and took it up a notch. Makisan's incredible chameleon abilities are seen on both the inside cover and across the spectrum of songs on the album. This gal loves wigs and fashion, and has pipes that are to die for. The track 'Sweet Soul Review' is incredibly, well, soulful. Konishisan gets big props for his brilliant orchestration.
'The Sound Of Music by Pizzicato Five' is my favorite trek through their style. It was loved by a very underground community, that even included our favorite nelly Isaac Mizrahi. His movie ( well, sort of his movie ) 'Unzipped' featured P5's single 'Happy Sad' and brought a whole legion of fans under their spell. From soulful funk on the track 'Number Five' to wild hyper-pop grooves on 'Peace Music', it's by far their wildest ride.
'Happy End Of The World' and 'The International Playboy and Playgirl Record', are two great follow-up albums. They both lounge it up and funk it down across their tracks.
My advice? Go out and buy 'The Sound Of Music by Pizzicato Five'. Or at least listen to it at your favorite online or retail store for a few minutes.
With you in 4/4,