The Polysics at the ICA: A Review

First, a warning: this review is severely hungover. Please do not operate heavy machinery while reading it. Thank you.

The Polysics are the greatest band in the world ever and you should all go out and see them live RIGHT NOW and do whatever you can to make certain that this glorious foursome from Japan can continue to produce their genius without interruption (buying their compilation album, Polysics or Die! is a start). And before you say it, yes, they are basically Japan’s answer to Devo, but that doesn’t really do them justice. They make no effort to hide the debt they owe to Devo, wearing red jumpsuits and classic New Wave shades, and I’m pretty sure the keyboardist’s entire repertoire of jerky robotic moves borrows heavily from Devo’s Satisfaction video. Despite all that, they are not some sort of novelty act (thought they do killer covers of My Sharona, Secret Agent Man and My Way). No, The Polysics are just desperately, wonderfully sincere and from the moment lead singer/songwriter Hiro and the rest walk on stage, it becomes obvious they love what their doing (though the keyboardist didn’t crack a smile all night and kept up the whole robot thing all night). Language isn’t really an issue (according to Hiro’s liner notes on Polysics or Die, most of their lyrics are written mainly in “English or Space Language”) because the band is all about urgency – and appropriately enough, one of their best tracks is called ‘Urge on!’. As for the show, alcohol poisoning is preventing me from going into specifics, but from what I remember, I was standing at the back of the ICA at the start of the gig, well into my sixth pint or so, when I was so overcome by that urgency, I suddenly found my feet carrying me to the front of the stage, pushing past the collection of gawping head-boppers and into the PIT of ROCK, where I watched with joy in my heart as my hands formed the Devil’s Salute of Rock and I began to jump up and down and back and forth and generally made an arse of myself for their entire set. And Hiro was right there with me, rocking out like a maniac and going completely ball-out crazy on every single song. To state the bleeding obvious: it was fan-fuckin-tastic.

Buy Polysics Or Die!!

I was also going to say something about support act Art Brut but then I noticed the following on their website ‘buzz’ page:

“Saturday, July 2004: Art Brut are now on the venerable institution that is Popex. Go on, you know you want to…”

As such, I won’t be saying what I was going to say and will instead point out that it must be very frustrating to perform for a crowd that finds you so uninteresting, it can’t even be bothered to boo you off stage, much less pretend to applaud.

10 Zesty Points out of a possible 11 (minus 1, just because. Call it the Art Brut factor.)

By Zesty Pete, appeared originally on

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