Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, "Angel"

Last post, I mentioned Andy Partridge, and it seems that triggered something in the recesses of my mind because, next thing I knew, I was relistening to Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, a Japanese group named after an XTC track of the same name. (Well, of a similar name, if you want to be exact: the song, from The Big Express, occupies itself with seagulls plural.)

The group began as a two-woman operation fronted by Aiha Higurashi (日暮 愛葉), in New York City, in 1992, that quickly put together a single, Losey Is My Dog, that was very much Japanese indie à la mode—a little bit of earnest twee, a little bit silly singalong, a bit of Brian Wilson piano-led pop—and that was released on a small label that was very much Japanese indie à la mode, A Trumpet Trumpet Records.

After that—and still effectively operating as a duo—they put out a six-tracker called Seagull to Hell, which I'm guessing is one of those flimsy Japanese puns. (In their native country, their name is pronounced along the lines of "she go," so... well, you can figure out the rest on your own.)

Then they started to get thrashier and ballsier and gruffer, but they never let slip their commitment to bubblegum hooks and a bright disposition. In the end, they wound up on Cornelius' Polystar imprint (or maybe partner or spinoff—I never really know), Trattoria, and I think that speaks to the direction they found themselves moving in. Globally-minded art-rock with finely-tuned and granularly-detailed idiosyncrasies that somehow never sound anything but utterly Japanese to my ear. Often, they'd wind up registering as a companion to Buffalo Daughter or Cibo Matto, feminine and groovy, yet also wonky and involved.

Ostensibly, this post is specifically about "Angel," a playful earworm of a tune that first appeared on Sweet Home, and that was included on a number of V/As, namely 2002's Anchor, which you've likely gathered is very near and dear to me.

Generally, these song-specific pieces I write are shorter and less concerned with telling the story, truncated or otherwise, of a band, but I got a little carried away today and gave you more info than I was planning to. Trust, there's much more to learn, however, and an impressively large quantity of their stuff is floating around on YouTube, so questing for more isn't a chore.

In any event, I honestly don't know why Aiha and company never really had a shot at making waves overseas. Or ripples. They could've been positioned snuggly between Buffalo Daughter, Cornelius, OOIOO, Boredoms. Maybe one of these days they'll get an overdue something—retrospective comp, 7-inch reissue—here in the States. I'd like that.