I first came across Sundays and Cybele through the band’s 2015 ‘Gipsy House’ album, released on the ever fabulous Guruguru Brain label. Hard to think that by then the band, essentially the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Kazuo Tsubouchi, had already been going for ten years… Since then the band have released quite a bit of material, most notably for me their ‘Heaven‘ album later that year.
Now comes Tsubouchi’s latest offering, ‘Chaos and Systems’ which follows the typical Sundays and Cybele pattern, meaning there is no pattern. As with all the band’s releases that I’ve come across this is a panoramic and sweeping album that has no centre, yet hangs together with a sort of abstract gravity that has you scratching your head during the first listen, then nodding it a few plays in, and eventually immerses itself under your cortex and just won’t let go.
The opening title track is a wonderful coming together of Japanese and ‘Western’ (I’m not sure how else to put it) rock and folk elements that seamlessly develop into something unique and enchanting. The bass here drives the track and allows for the complex and brain melting embellishments to fly.
After this relatively short overture the band power into ‘Butterfly’s Dream’ which is as good a Sundays and Cybele number as I’ve heard. Soaring guitars and melodious vocals really give the song an edge, with a series of instrumental bridges really pushing the track on in a way that I find so exciting. Easily one of my favourite tracks of the year so far.
‘Tell Me The Name Of That Flower’ is a lighter and more delicate track with Tsubouchi’s distinctive vocals and guitar prominently forward in the mix meaning that that there is a light and dark effect respectively during the vocal and instrumental parts of the song. This gives it a distinct atmosphere that really works for me.
After that ‘Brujo’ is a more funky number which is quite different from anything on the album so far (it kicks off side two on the vinyl). It has taken me a while to really get into this one, but now that I have I can really appreciate the layers of sound; notably the organ which gives the track texture and a certain 60s psych quality. On top of this the heavily treated vocals cut the song up giving it the abstraction I was talking about earlier.
The vast majority of side two, however, is taken up with ‘Paradise Come’ a real slow burner of a long track that I could listen to a hundred times and never get tired of. It is one of those numbers which hardly seems to change, but does progress almost imperceptibly building to a brilliant crescendo before fading into a melee of guitar and the end.
With ‘Chaos and Systems’ Sundays and Cybele have produced yet another brilliant album that is jammed full of ideas in a way that takes a few listens to full appreciate. Once you get it though this album absolutely soars into your consciousness like a sonic tsunami and then just gets better and better ever time you hear it.