Brooklyn-based post-punk outfit Hard Nips introduces their brand-new album, Master Cat, via Dadstache Records.
Originally from Japan, each member of Hard Nips moved to New York at assorted times yet seemed predestined to find each other. Guitarist Saki, who grew up on Long Island says, “Gooch is from Okinawa so she’s an island girl; Hitomi is from Nagano so she is a mountain girl; Yoko is from Osaka so she is a city girl; [I’m] from Long Island so [I’m] a suburban girl (at heart).”
Yoko (vocals, keyboards) was running a Japanese bar/restaurant in Brooklyn, where Gooch (bass) ate frequently. When they hooked up with Hitomi (drums) and Saki (guitar), the bar became their ad hoc headquarters. They would meet, drink, and talk non-stop. While imbibing vast quantities of wine, they brainstormed forming a kick-ass rock band.
Despite the fact none of them, except for Hitomi, were musicians, in 2009 they picked up instruments for the first time and proclaimed themselves a band. Sans any intention of ever performing live, they played together all the time. As they played, they found themselves hearing music beyond their capabilities. So they rehearsed until they sounded like what they had heard.
Before long, they began releasing EPs and albums. Now the band offers up their first new music since 2017 – Master Cat, a collection of eight tracks of high-voltage party rock, blending punk savors of the Ramones and Blondie with the off-the-wall exuberance of the B-52s.
Explaining the album, Saki shares, “We collaborated on everything, and everyone wrote their own parts, but each song started out as a basic form usually from one of us. Gooch and I especially bring the initial flavor to the songs by writing the melodies/riffs: Gooch’s style is more groovy and funky with songs like ‘Master Cat,’ ‘Alternative Dreamland,’ and ‘Anaconda.’ My style is more rocking and punk, with ‘Workaholic,’ ‘Analog Guys,’ and ‘Motto.’ Yoko and Gooch write the lyrics. Hitomi is a true professional and we can roughly describe what kind of beat we are thinking of, and she will find it.”
Master Cat begins with “Blender X,” opening tough guitars topped by Yoko’s glossy riot grrrl tones, backed by radiant harmonies. Highlights include the title track with its symphonic-like intro flowing into a fat, vibrating bassline riding crunching drums. Lustrous keyboards juxtapose against the deep throb of the guitars, while dreamy, filtered vocals imbue the lyrics with ghostly tones.
“Workaholic” features dark, growling guitars rolling out on a muscular rhythm as burnished vocals give the lyrics glaze coloration. “Analog Guys” conjures up memories of The Go-Go’s crossed with Siouxsie and the Banshees, pumping out thick textures of viscous textures, gnarly and potent.
“Motto” starts off like a White Stripes song, austere and visceral, and then flows into a new wave punk-flavored melody. Whereas the intro to “Anaconda” features dark risky colors and then brims with heavy guitars and lustrous keyboards.
At once visceral and polished, Master Cat surges with brawny guitars, heavy-duty rhythmic beats, and yummy gilded vocal surfaces.