Melt-Banana doesn't translate well on an album, even as a live recording. For one thing, you can't witness frontwoman Yasuko Onuki's colorful, metallic costumes. Plus this kind of noise rock feels disorienting when you're not face-to-face with the live source. Without the stage pageantry, however, it's easier to hone in Onuki's exquisite bark and militant post-punk vocals.
The Japanese noise band sometimes plays shows as Melt-Banana Lite, and this new album reflects that side of its musical personality. In this case, it's still Melt-Banana songs but with synthesizer and samples, and no guitar. In "Chain Keeper," Onuki, aka "Yako," rants like a crazed auctioneer narrating a Disney movie that has, perhaps, been taken over by R. Crumb. "Cat and the Blood" opens with wispy electronica evoking the tumble of a washing machine before Yako breaks the meditative space with cat-like vocals.
Melt-Banana sings in English but you can't discern a word. Look up the lyrics and you'll still be puzzled. For instance, "One Drop, One Life" begins: "One drop to my cheap eye to dig/Two drops to your bad hands/To call on my lost cat." See what I mean? But with Yako, especially live, you still get a sense of her emotional intent.
Melt-Banana plays the Palace Thursday, Dec. 10, at 9 PM with The Lion The Tamer and Deny the Dinosaur. $8.