Melt-Banana | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This 15-year-old Japanese institution helped put Chicago's Skin Graft label on the map-- from the other side of the world and despite the fact they were weird even by Skin Graft standards--winning over even the most militant art-noise haters thanks to the helium-voiced Yasuko, who seemed capable of bridging any cultural gap by simply singing louder and faster. Since 2003's Cell-Scape (the band's fifth studio album, on their own label, A-Zap), some fans have been muttering about the band "selling out" or "going pop"--which must be understood in relative terms--and Bambi's Dilemma, their latest, isn't going to quiet them. By Melt-Banana standards some of the tracks are downright leisurely, plus there are choruses you can sing and tunes you can hum. Yasuko's still infectiously gleeful, but guitarist Agata-, known for his onslaught of effects, at times sounds like R2-D2 puking up Night Train in the gutter. As always, in the live setting Melt-Banana is guaranteed raucous and abrasive fun. Cheer-Accident, Locks, and Rabid Rabbit open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance, 18+

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