Skip to main content

Shonen Knife: Pop Tune

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

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.