The second album from Cibo Matto, one of music's most acclaimed bands, Stereo*type A is focused and refined while still wildly diverse and creative. A blend of many different styles, with elements of jazz, hip-hop and pop, Cibo Matto intertwines them into a sound entirely its own. From the groove of "Spoon" to the undulating R&B of "Moonchild,", Stereo*type A is, at its core, a pop album, and at the same time imaginative and funky. Sean Lennon and Timo Ellis have become invaluable hands in all Cibo Matto endeavors. Also contributing to Stereo*type A are no-waver Arto Lindsay, guitarist Marc Ribot, John Medeski and Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood, Soul Coughing's Sebastian Steinberg, Buffalo Daughter's Zak and Umiko Ohno, Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso and jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas.
It wasn't so long ago that New York-based Japanese duo Cibo Matto (Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda) were simply a fun, gimmicky East Village outfit who performed on Casio keyboards and sang almost exclusively about their favorite foods. As such, the band's major-label debut album Viva! La Woman was sugary, but not really substantive--a clear-cut example of Eastern culture endearingly misinterpreting Western music. But Cibo Matto has come a long way since penning songs like "Know Your Chicken," "Beef Jerky," and "Birthday Cake." Stereotype A is a mature, instrumentally rich album that sees the group break the novelty mold and achieve recognition for compelling songwriting and interesting arrangements. On Stereotype Cibo Matto incorporates such styles as electropop, bossa nova, soul, hip-hop, and butt-waggling funk, expressing a dizzying range of influences that include TLC, Ice Cube, Luscious Jackson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Isaac Hayes. In the process of becoming musically legit, however, Cibo Matto has lost some of their former charm, which is probably fine with Hatori and Honda, who would no doubt rather be seen as credible than cute. --Jon Wiederhorn