Shonen Knife: Pop Tune

Effervescent punk-pop from the Oriental all-girl band.

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The peculiar Japanese crush on Western pop has rarely been exemplified better than by Shonen Knife. Adored by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth and L7, the Osaka trio are now 30-plus years into a career that shows very little sign of losing its day-glo spark.

This 18th album is a relentless buzz of Ramonesy pop, guitarist and lead singer Naoko Yamano riding a bubblegum wave of noise while extolling the virtues of ghost trains and favourite rock hangouts. It’s really not a million miles removed from last year’s all-covers tribute to Da Brudders, Osaka Ramones.

Meanwhile, their 60s girl-group obsession is freely fetishised on the title track and the handclaps aplenty of All You Can Eat, which is a giddy meditation on the sweet joys of an unlimited nosh-up. Psychedelic Life is a full-fat treat too, candy-striped psych-pop with a big woodwind burst in the middle.

Daft? Certainly. But brilliantly refreshing all the same.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.