by ButterspritesButtersprites


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Buttersprites is the debut disc on Dionysus Records by Seattle's Buttersprites, a musical group that puts as much emphasis on its show and costume as it does its music. In most situations of this kind, the uniforms look great but the music suffers, but not so with Buttersprites -- what is on the inside is just as good, if not better, than what is on the outside. Buttersprites are tapping into the wellspring of Japanese pop, and sing mostly in Japanese even though they are an American group; on the surface it appears that comparisons to Shonen Knife would be inevitable, especially with song titles such as "Fresh Mochi." But once again Buttersprites sidestep both the trend and one's preconceived expectations, as this disc is firmly rooted in the post-punk tradition that, after a long neglect, is being rediscovered by a number of emerging bands. The most obvious illustration of this last-named property is "Yellow Fever," a thinly disguised rewrite of the song "Public Image" retrofitted with humorous lyrics about the phenomenon of non-Asian males seeking out romance among Asian females. A more militant group would say more about this topic, but Buttersprites wisely keep it light and therefore deepen the sense of satire. Another song that reflects the dub-cum-folk admixture pioneered by PiL is "Fever" and its corresponding dub mix, although this time Haruko Nishimura's chattering vocal takes center stage. Of the songs here, "Love Call" is the most immediate, brimming with catchy and infectious ideas and wedded to appealing harmonies. It is hard to put one's finger on what makes Buttersprites seem so fresh, unusual, and engaging; certainly it is not the sum of its influences. Perhaps it's Elizabeth Jameson's shreddy but sweet guitar tone and sinuous leads, Lunarre Omura's solid but perky bass, Julie Grant's calculatedly minimal keyboards, or Jen Gay's just-brought-'em-outta-the-basement drums. Haruko Nishimura's singing is by turns sweet and cynical, and although her occasional cackling might sound contrived to some, it is clearly part of the aesthetic here, which is tongue-in-cheek in addition to being musically very sound. Both Jameson and Grant seem to have a feel for specific, arcane kinds of pop instrumental sounds, an aspect that is pointed up by the excellent mix achieved by production team Johnny Horn, Andrew Sodt, and Lynval Goulding (he of the Specials). However, this should not distract from the tremendous sense of fun resulting from listening to Buttersprites; it is a terrific debut that will hook the listener, who will want to return to this brand of ear (and eye) candy repeatedly.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/10/2005
Label: Dionysus Records
UPC: 0053477311520
catalogNumber: 1233115
Rank: 148956

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Buttersprites   Primary Artist
Elizabeth Jameson   Guitar,Group Member
Haruko Nishimura   Accordion,Vocals,Group Member
Lunarre Omura   Bass,Group Member
Julie Grant   Accordion,Keyboards,Group Member
Lunarre Omura   Bass Guitar
Jen Gay   Drums
Elizabeth Jameson   Guitar

Technical Credits

Iggy Pop   Composer
Keith Levene   Composer
Clare Grogan   Composer
Johnny Horn   Engineer
John Lydon   Composer
Johnny McElhone   Composer
Andrew Sodt   Engineer
Elizabeth Jameson   Composer
Haruko Nishimura   Composer
Lunarre Omura   Composer
Julie Grant   Composer
Jen Gay   Composer

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