Peelander-Z is more than a band and more than a punk band. In light of its raucous, ridiculous greatest hits album, Super DX Hitz, the myth that the band hails from the Z-area of Planet Peelander and that its Lycra costumes are in fact the members’ “skin” seems appropriate, if not plausible. For the “Japanese Action Comic Punk Band,” the music is a soundtrack to the living, breathing, screaming enigma that is Peelander-Z, all bright costumes and color and karaoke and yelling and games of “human bowling.” Similarly, Super DX Hitz is more than a collection of the band’s most boisterous songs from throughout its 13-year history on planet Earth; it is a nonstop kamikaze mission into the happy-go-lucky punk world of Peelander-Z, complete with a karaoke DVD to scream along to.
While most punk music is associated with reckless, violent and hostile emotions, Peelander-Z approaches its noisy punk rock with glee. Scrawled across the bottom of the album’s shiny gold cover is the legend “28 Happee Songs FUN FUN FUN,” a reflection of the goofy, balls-out attitude behind Peelander-Z’s baby-friendly hard rock. Grinding, noisy guitar chords, fast, pounding drums and hoarse shouting meet a chorus of high-pitched kiddie TV show voices, random silly input from randomly silly noisemakers and gleeful babbling in Peelander-Z’s charming insanity. It is clear from the band’s recorded work that Peelander-Z is an ecstatically childish celebration that incorporates the whole audience in sing-along segments and antics that involve diving headfirst past a man in a giant squid suit into a bunch of bowling pins.
With such a high level of energy and mayhem pumped into each song, it comes as no surprise that most tracks on Super DX Hitz are roughly two-minute bursts. The 28 tracks range from five seconds (“Champion”) to over four minutes in duration (“Manga Man”) and total just over an hour of zany comic book karaoke madness. Two tracks from the end, the energy dies down into uncharacteristically low-key and, in the case of “Pink Punk,” acoustic numbers. Most of the time, lead screamer Peelander-Yellow directs sing-along segments and employs a Eugene Hütz-like husk in his voice, but the last two tracks feature fresh vocalists: a girl singing in “Pink Punk” (is there a Peelander-Pink?) and a dorky, nasal Peelander singing in Japanese on the closing track, “Happee Pee.” The slow songs are about the extent of Peelander-Z’s sonic diversity, which is not an integral part of the Peelander-Z experience; virtually every track is an explosion of punk sound and kooky pandemonium similar to the last.