“The Sugar Cubes Will Melt No More”: Cibo Matto at the Crescent Ballroom

If the legendary but identity unknown “Mother Goose” wrote song lyrics for an acid jazz-influenced J-Rock band, then she might have created something like “Spoon” by Cibo Matto. I caught the band at the Crescent Ballroom in Downtown Phoenix as they toured to promote their long-awaited new album Hotel Valentine, after an approximately fifteen year hiatus from recording. While Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori went on to pursue solo projects, the duo achieved distinction as an “alternative music” phenomenon during the mid-90s when the so-called alternative was going mainstream with bands like Weezer and Green Day. For music mavens hungry for less popular, more experimental music fare Cibo Matto’s appearance during this phase of the alt-decade arrived as a breath of fresh air. Many of us remember their 1997 performance of “Birthday Cake” on the short-lived Comedy Central show Viva Variety! At the time, Sean Lennon played bass, providing the ensemble a kind of instant name recognition. Yet, whereas the Lennon name may have led many to expect a very pop friendly style of music, such expectations were soon defied as danceable rhythms morphed into atonal celebrations of random foods, such as “Beef Jerky” or “Know Your Chicken.” The song that I recorded here, “Spoon,” is from the band’s 1999 release Stereo Type A, which was much less food-oriented, however, still heavy on the Shibuya-kei beats and tempos that give the band their unique musical personality. While no longer accompanied by Lennon, Cibo Matto is equally dynamic with the current lineup that includes Yuko Araki on drums and Jared Samuel on bass.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s