Featuring a collection of accomplished, Montreal-based musicians, who have played with and alongside the likes of Pawa Up First, Patrick Wilson, Boogat, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others, the rising Montreal-based Japanese psych punk septet TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) — was initially founded as a loving homage (and tribute) to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi.
With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the rising Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound, a sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. 2020 was a big year for the Canadian psych act. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who will be releasing the band’s highly-awaited full-length debut Shirushi. The band also released two singles off the album, which is slated for a May 7, 2021 release:
“Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy.
“Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb.
“Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.
Shirushi’s fourth and latest single “Yoru Ni” derives its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night” and the track is a Dick Dale-inspired fever dream centered around dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing, slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen within a cinematic and expansive song structure. Adding to a fever dream-like vibes, the band’s Maya Kuroki breathily singing and howling lyrics in French and Japanese respectively. Sonically, “Yoru Ni” further establishes their mischievous and unique sound — a sound that’s one part Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, circa Kill Bill, Ennio Morricone and spy movies. However, despite what the song sounds like, the lyrics tell a much different story, with the song being a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held, delusional quest.
It probably shouldn’t be surprising that a trippy fever dream of a song “was literally written in the middle of the night,” the band’s Serge Nakauchi-Pelletier explains in press notes. ‘’I woke up suddenly and had this melody in my head, as if it had come to me from another world. It really felt like I was following some kind of spirit or ghost, it was taking my hand and wanted to take me somewhere.”
The recently released and cinematically shot video features the members of the band as spectral apparitions appearing in a typically suburban house — at night.