I once saw Kurt Cobain talking to Shonen Knife in a hotel lobby. He looked happy, like a big kid. And since Nirvana helped to promote the trio’s career, millions of people have shared that happiness.
No matter how ‘rock’ Shonen Knife get, or how cool, or how overshadowed by Japan’s increasingly post-ironic pop-rock scene, they remain unchanged and unchangeable.
Adventure – not, thank God, a collection of Television covers – is at least their 20th album and while it reflects the harder edge of the Knife, it’s still utterly joyful, even on a song called Dog Fight.
From the Motörhead growl of Rock’n’Roll T-Shirt to the Buzzcocks optimism of Jump Into The New World (it even has a perfect Pete Shelleyan guitar solo), Adventure is the sound of a band channelling the grungier side of their music without once slipping over to the dark side.
Cartoony, authentic, moving and daft, and the true heirs to the Ramones, Shonen Knife are just great.