Ninjaspy – Spüken

9/10

Ninjaspy is the trio of Parent brothers Joel, Tim, and Adam AKA The Triad of Blood. Formed in Port Coquitlam, BC and based out of Vancouver, BC, the three blend their wide array of tastes and come together at a fantastically unexpected crossroad, connecting ska, grunge, hardcore, metal, reggae, funk, surf, and jazz. Deriving their philosophy and inspiration from the Japanese martial art of ninjutsu, Ninjapsy is committed to honest, non-ego driven music that represents freedom of expression and makes life worth living by making you dance to it; this particular soul-reviving dance falling somewhere between the mosh pit and the skank (a dance not to be confused with the derogatory term). For those of us who can’t even make it out of a jazz show without a bloody nose, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Released on April 14th, Spüken is the follow up to their 2013 EP/graphic novel No Kata, and their 2007 debut Pi Nature which was birthed from vocalist/guitarist Joel’s ninjutsu training in Japan in 2009. A long time in the making, Ninjaspy began recording back in November 2014 by taking a decade’s worth of material and fine tuning it down to a ten-track album. As Joel puts it: “…There are a lot of different feels happening from song to song that represents what we got into over the years. It’s like we spent 10 years swallowing everything life threw at us, then we threw it all back up again, and now are able to listen to the blended, half-digested version of it.”

Produced by fellow Canadian GGGarth Richardson (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Melvins, Rage Against the Machine), Spüken is the ultimate synthesis of opposing forces, creating an utterly unique style that energizes and excites the body and mind.

The sheer eclecticism of sounds in Spüken is exemplified in tracks like “Brother Man” throughout which you have no idea what to expect from bar to bar, let alone from track to track. Refreshingly anarchistic, Ninjaspy give a giant middle finger to any kind of traditional song structure, leaving you with nothing to do but hang on and enjoy the ride.

Personally, I like my hardcore to be offset by more melodic and funk styles (i.e. System of A Down) and “Speak” is the epitome of this harmony. Heavy, growling vocals are limited to the chorus, adding elemental power and rounding out the energy of the song. “What!,” like “Speak,” reminds me of Foxy Shazam and is the result of a battle between peace and violence, wherein the peace makes the violence tolerable and the violence makes the peace exciting. This dichotomy also applies to “Jump Ya Bones” where the vocals lend themselves to a reggae tone, and the riffs are pure funk. This track is both my favourite on the album and the point where the circle pit meets the skank.

“Shuriken Dance” features operatic vocals clashing with Primus-esque bass lines that carry the System of a Down tone all the way through to the “Become Nothing” chanted lyrics, “This one is for your tight clenched asshole.” While “Dead Duck Dock” sees a jazz intro and outro sandwiched around a track that is all hardcore, Ninjaspy prove their position at the forefront of genre-defying, energizing sound.

Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Danielle Kenedy

About Jordan Hodgins 69 Articles
Jordan, in an attempt to avoid an overly-romantic bio, has chosen to stick to the cold, hard facts about her life. She has been reading ever since she can remember, but didn't decide to try her hand at writing (heh heh) until she had no other choice while attending university. Jordan has always been an incredibly passionate person, and for her, writing and music provided the perfectly blended outlet to keep her relatively out of trouble. Jordan's heart lies with the kind of old-school blues and gospel that gave rise to and inspired Elvis; she enjoys anything with soul, or has the ability to unite an eclectic crowd according to (in)tangible ties. Jordan's goal in writing for Bucketlist is to organize her intuition in a way that makes sense enough to which at least one person will relate. Enjoy!

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