Osaka postpunk quartet Yolz in the Sky’s new album “Ionization” follows on from the best moments of their self-titled 2007 debut with a series of insistent dance beats and reverb-heavy guitars underscoring the relentless harangue of the echoing, ranting vocals. This time, however, Yolz in the Sky take it way further, with the title track a repetitive, stripped down loop; the metallic buzz of the guitar and the ratatat-tat of the hi-hat, coming over more as minimalist, 1980s-industrial- electronic music than punk rock: like Throbbing Gristle played with live instruments.
There are more conventionally rock moments to balance out the more minimalist elements, but, as with “I Ready Needy,” these are delivered with a fearsome devotion to the same simple but devastatingly effective beat, recalling the lockstep Teutonic disco-punk of German “Neue Deutsche Welle” (German new wave) bands like S.Y.P.H. and DAF, or the more aggressive moments of Joy Division.
The most striking characteristic of “Ionization” is the way it burns with repressed energy, as in the way it holds back on the feedback and distortion, only releasing it in controlled bursts, as on the titanic closing track “Dawn,” or the way “One Way to the Trouble” begins with just the vocals over drums that rumble along like a Tiger tank, and the scratchy guitars for the first couple of minutes before the bass is allowed to come and and crank things up a notch. Throughout there’s a sense of enormous power just waiting to be unleashed, but the band are always just a little bit too clever to let it all out at once.