In 2007, Carsick Cars supported Sonic Youth in Europe and released their eponymous debut album, announcing themselves as one of the most important bands in China. At the time the trio – Zhang Shouwang, Li Weisi and Li Qing – were at the epicentre of a Beijing underground music scene that was garnering considerable international attention and their fuzzed-up noise-rock tracks, drawing heavily on the sound of Thurston Moore and co, became anthems for a generation of Chinese gig goers.
Seven years later and, despite a number of line-up changes (Zhang is now the sole remaining founding member) and a slightly underwhelming second album – 2010’s You Can Listen, You Can Talk – Carsick Cars remain one of the biggest bands in the country and China’s best-known rock export. Add in the four-year wait since their last album proper and to call their new Maybe Mars-backed LP a highly anticipated release is an understatement.
Simply entitled 3, for the most part the album jettisons the swirling guitar waves that saw tracks on the band’s previous efforts regularly spiral into the best part of ten minutes in favour of a slicker, punchier approach.