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CD REVIEW

Limited Express (has gone?): “LTD”

by Shawn Despres

Formed in Kyoto in 1998, Tokyo-based trio Limited Express (has gone?) issued two full-length discs (the first of which surfaced on American avant-garde composer John Zorn’s well-respected Tzadik Records) and gigged overseas in Australia, Europe and North America before breaking up on New Year’s Eve in 2006. A short seven months later, guitarist Jinichiro Iida and bassist Yukari resurrected the act. “LTD” is their third proper studio album.

Bearing the message “Suck the celebrity. Punk rock millionaire upset this world.” on its cover, as per their wish, there is absolutely zero chance the 11 wonderfully ragged art-punk cuts on “LTD” will bring the band fame and fortune. It will garner them a fair share of accolades, though. A short blast of distortion paves the way for the frantic Iida-led opening rocker “Shut Up to Go.” And while Iida’s screaming vocals are strong, Limited Express (has gone?) are at their best when Yukari has the microphone. She playfully croons her way through the quirky, noisy pop number “I Wanna Sing All of My Heart” and howls an out of tune broadwaylike chorus on the chaotic, messy standout “Star light-IEDE.” Showing the full range of her voice, her near spastic squeals on “Check the MICROPHONE” sound akin to acclaimed screecher Yako from underground peers Melt-Banana. Over in a mere 28 minutes, the only fault longtime fans likely will find with “LTD” is its lack of length. Next time, more music please.

Limited Express (has gone?) will play Drive to 2010 on Nov. 6 at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Loft, and a CD release concert for “LTD” at Tokyo’s Super Deluxe on Nov. 15.