Gauze (ガーゼ) is one of those bands that you either know, or need to know, if you are into long-standing, energetic hardcore punk bands. They are notoriously in control of what Gauze is (to the point of turning down gigs in America in favour of staying in Japan) and have been rumoured to have dismissed whole albums of songs for not being good enough. Each member has a distinct role and look. Each album seems to be noisier, heavier and faster than the previous. All the more impressive due to the fact that they are in their 50’s. And their live shows are, well, the stuff of legends.
Their fourth LP, “面を洗って出直して来い” or Kao o Aratte Denaoshite Koi, was originally released by the band in 1997, to very little fanfare outside of Japan. Fans debate whether this, or “Equalizing Distort” is the best (and some will point to their first LP “Fuck Heads” as even better, but those people are wrong). I’m firmly in the camp for “面を洗って出直して来い” being the best album to date. Even better news is that all of Gauze’s recorded output, including “面を洗って出直して来い”, has been re-released by the band on XXX Records in an effort to stave off an enterprising bootlegger. Of course, the re-pressing isn’t to satisfy the west, but it’s for Gauze’s fans. Thankfully, I ordered it from Disk Union in Japan. I’d suggest going that route or seeing if someone gets enough to distribute them in the US (I hear Material World and maybe Sorry State will have these).
This review is perfunctory; it’s a little odd to review a record that’s 20 years old, but it holds up, and maybe even stands up better in hindsight. It all starts simply enough — staccato drum beat into buzzsaw guitars, add in a growling bass thrown into blender with shouted vocals, crank the velocity to 1000 and you might get a sense of what Gauze sounds like. And 16 minutes later it’s over. One thing I’ve always admired about the song-writing of Gauze is that they’ve taken pop sensibilities (especially around using repetition as a way to reinforce a riff) and mutated them to just be noisy, fuzzed out, and amplified. Oh yeah, played at breakneck speed. It’s stuff like this that makes me want to go see shows and play shows.
The re-issues for all five of Gauze’s records are available through Japanese record stores on November 29, 2017. Don’t support the bootlegger as the money will never be shared with the band. In this day and age, it’s not hard to use Google Translate to find what you’re looking for, and communicate haphazardly with someone half way across the globe. Hell, if punks were doing it in the 90’s when this was first released, without the Internet, you have no excuse not to go direct to the source and support the band themselves.