Coquettish – High Energy Politics (CD)

Off the top of my head, there have been three good “punky” Japanese (or Japanese-American) bands that I’ve been introduced to before Coquettish: The Polysics, Peelander-Z and Laughing Cunts. Coquettish makes four, as their style of music is influenced by the hardcore punk of the mid-nineties, specifically Rancid. Rancid seems to be a big important to Asia and Japan, as China’s biggest punk export, Brain Failure also takes heavily from the general sound that Rancid put forth. However, Coquettish is not quite as obvious as a Rancid ripoff. Coquettish has solid bass lines that push the tracks even farther into the realm of memorable punk legends, with tracks like “Life Changes” providing the most bang for the listener’s buck.

Coquettish have been around for a decent amount of time (at least four years), and this experience really comes through in a major way on “High Energy Politics”. Old guard enough to know when to cut off their tracks, the longest on the disc being 3:01 Coquettish makes every track as vibrant and vital as possible. “Common Existence” takes Coquettish on a different tack; the harder-edged sound of the track has much more in common with The Casualties than the laid-back ska/punk of Operation Ivy. This malleability is coupled with a solid sense of arrangement that really makes the disc; if a lesser band tried to do the leaps across genre that Coquettish does on “High Energy Politics”, they would be so disjointed that listening to their disc would be an exercise in futility.

Never allowing their listeners to gain their breath, Coquettish pack an hour of music in to the 27 minutes that “High Energy Politics” runs. Each band member throws in an equal share during each song, and what follows is an always-full and lush track that struggles against mere categorization against genre lines. Coquettish may have ties to a number of those punk bands that have influenced them in their formative years, but that doesn’t mean that the band is a bland rehash of The Vandals or Rancid. Rather, Coquettish attempts to tantalize their listeners with the widest array of different sounds and modest attitude that allows this humble band to wow not only because of their anger but also through a surprising attention to detail. “High Energy Politics” has the (pardon me) high energy and spontaneity found on the earliest punk albums (Dead Boys, Circle Jerks, Weirdos) and the lush recordings found in Green Day and Blink 182 disc, and it is this Frankenstein’s monster that makes this disc such a success.

Rating: 7.1/10

Coquettish – High Energy Politics / 2005 Asian Man Records / 13 Tracks / / / Reviewed 17 May 2005

Top Tracks: Common Existence, Skate Days

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