Well what the heck, you guys? Even though it was basically a given that BiSH would release another MV to promote the release of THE GUERiLLA BiSH, I don’t think anybody expected that it would appear out of nowhere on a Friday morning in Japan. Just like last time, they stayed true to the theme of the record!
So that’s a pretty solid MV; I’ve never more wanted to be a guy tied to a chair, up to and including the apparent immolation-by-Ayuni. It was a wise choice, too, for the follow-up to “My landscape”, to convince that handful of people in the world who don’t already know that the album actually has a ton of upbeat intensity that BiSH is and always will be BiSH. For what it’s worth, I thought that “SMACK baby SMACK” was the best song on the album … and in wanting to say that and this one other thing* about it, I decided to include a miniaturized version of the review that I’ll now never publish.
The very first time I heard THE GUERiLLA BiSH, I thought they’d totally hit the mark, that Watanabe’s boast of “masterpiece” might be a little much, but not that far off. The catch? I did that listen while working outside, listening on my tinny Bluetooth earphones with a ton of very loud background noise. When I came back to it for the first time a few hours later, and then the next day, something of the shine wore off, and I felt less enthused.
Here’s the thing: THE GUERiLLA BiSH is fine. It’s fine! In fact, other than “Promise the Star” (which I never liked), it doesn’t have a personal skip song anywhere on it. What it’s not is great, which you get the sense that it was intended to be (“SHARR” and this number and of course “GiANT KiLLERS” are serious leaders for the whole BiS/H lineage), only to succumb to too many safe moments and a surprising amount of repetition.
In an absolute vacuum, I’d give it four Heartbleeds; in light of what BiSH has released in their 2.5 years of existence, or at least the albums and EP, this might be my least favorite of all — it lacks the swaggy attitude of the eponymous debut, the earnestness of FAKE METAL JACKET and the raw power of KiLLER BiSH. It feels weird to say that an album with “SHARR” on it had settled into a money-making groove, but I think that’s exactly it: BiSH gets to keep credibility by putting a handful of genuine bangers out there, having a very popularly relatable ballad as the promotional centerpiece, and then filling in the surrounding gaps with songs that people will like, but don’t require much effort to get into. It’s a wonderful album for driving a medium distance.
*”SMACK baby SMACK” was my opposite track on the album — I thought it was a perfectly adequate BILLIE IDLE song the first few times I heard it. Then it grew on me!