When Ego-Wrappin’ performed on Asahi TV’s “Music Station” show in July last year, singer Yoshie Nakano started their set by planting a kiss right on the camera lens, leaving a smudge of lipstick behind. It was the kind of insouciant gesture that the band do well: While their fusion of jazz, rock and Showa pop is by no means unappealing in itself, it’s the occasional flashes of something altogether more anarchic that really make it fizz.
This is Nakano and coconspirator Masaki Mori’s sixth album to date (and the first time they’ve given their backing band equal billing), and the opening 10 minutes or so sound very rum indeed. The curtain raiser, “Red Shadow,” has her barking English lyrics through a megaphone over a backing of discordant piano, rock drumming and free-jazz saxophone squawks. It’s followed by “Go Action,” which takes the kind of uptempo ska groove that used to be the band’s stock in trade and drags it into the nuthouse.