Release Date: Nov 9, 2010
Record label: Good Charamel Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Shonen Knife clearly love the Ramones, and it shows: they obviously admire their knack for simple but hooky and hard-rocking tunes, and much like the Brothers from Forest Hills, Shonen Knife are a band with a formula, and more than two decades after releasing their first album, they're still committed to it. Even though Naoko Yamano's simple but enthusiastic technique as a guitarist has improved quite a bit over the years, her songwriting style remains very much the same, devoted to straightforward and upbeat tunes with playful, child-like lyrics, and her current bandmates (bassist Ritsuko Taneda and drummer Etsuko Nakanishi) may be more expert than Shonen Knife Mk. One, but their four-square stomp reveals them to be stubborn, dedicated traditionalists.
Osaka, Japan’s beloved [a]Shonen Knife[/a] have now been churning out mini pop-punk masterpieces for bang on 30 years – not that you’d be able to guess from the youthful pep of [b]‘Free Time’[/b]. As ever, the all-female pop-punk trio finds its inspiration in the seemingly mundane. Whether celebrating gastronomy of the sugary sweet kind on [b]‘Rock’N’Roll Cake’[/b], immortalising their school hangout on [b]‘An Old Stationary Shop’[/b] (“It opens every day except Sunday!/You can buy anything you need at school”)or squaring up to villainous sea creatures on [b]‘Monster Jellyfish’[/b], the heroic ladies sound just as fresh and enchantingly boisterous as they ever have.
The Osaka Ramones have still got it. Louis Pattison 2011 Shonen Knife must have appeared an image of comic-book perfection as their music first filtered through to Western audiences in the mid-80s. Three young women from Osaka, Japan that rejected their destiny as anonymous salarywomen and dutiful mothers in favour of forming a band and playing wide-eyed Ramones-like punk rock songs about eating sweets and riding bikes, they both strangely echoed the spirit of America’s nascent DIY punk underground (revolt against tedious authority, enthusiasm over ability, the blending of distortion and tunes) while apparently lacking one atom of its angst or cynicism.