Dusted Reviews

Narita Munehiro - Narita Munehiro

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Narita Munehiro

Album: Narita Munehiro

Label: PSF

Review date: Sep. 25, 2005

From its 1983 inception until its recent hiatus, the Japanese power trio High Rise bashed out some of the planet's most ferocious and satisfying psychedelic punk. Fleet-fingered guitarist Narita Munehiro is responsible for the lion's share of that group’s throttle and swing. Thuggish abandon and improv-honed intuition guide his revved-up leads, anthemic chord progressions, and liberal applications of wah-wah, phaser and feedback. His piercing, fuzz-saturated tone and rapid-fire, spontaneous blastoffs are as distinctive and immediately recognizable as those of Berry, Hendrix or Ginn. Despite his lack of commercial visibility, the man stands tall among rock history’s six-string virtuosos.

Narita has been a presence on the Tokyo scene since 1979. In addition to his work in High Rise, he also killed time with such esteemed trailblazers as Taco, Kousokuya and Kyoaku no Intention. His long overdue solo debut will elate tech-savvy fanboys who have yearned to contemplate every scrape of his pick and every crackle of his hopelessly strained speaker cabinet minus the distractions of bass, drums and vocals. The starkly handsome, clearly produced disc doesn’t contain any formal songs, just four extended documentations of a Gibson Les Paul Special fornicating live in the studio with a Fender Dual Showman Reverb amp. (Maher Shalal Hash Baz and Tenniscoats member Takashi Ueno strums away in a supporting role on two of the tracks.) But there’s more to the album than freeform fretboard acrobatics; Narita flaunts his rarely seen impressionistic side, as well. For the fairly low-volume “PT-950” and the serene “TA-28” his instrument sensitively scampers across and, when necessary, violently slices through miles of empty space. Even the bright, turbocharged distortion of the introductory “FP-3” bleeds into clean, soulful interludes of slowly bent, gorgeously aching notes.

On the surface, Narita's approach seems geared towards his fellow musicians and audiophiles. His unadorned shivers of electricity will probably frustrate simpletons who seek nothing deeper than a quick fix of kick-ass garage riffs. (Still, the blues-based resin that accumulates several minutes into “FP-2” proves that our hero can summon the spirit of High Rise if he feels like it.) So forget about the lure of cheap thrills and instant gratification; Narita's craft demands close, patient listening. Attentive, detail-oriented connoisseurs should promptly familiarize themselves with the brazen expressiveness and radiant purity of his intimate, lone-wolf howl.

By Jordan N. Mamone

Read More

View all articles by Jordan N. Mamone

Find out more about PSF

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.