The Mutants: Tokyo Nights

Anglo-Japanese punk supergroup find themselves in translation.

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A kind of Traveling Wilburys collective of punk-era elder statesmen, The Mutants released a patchy debut album last year featuring an all-star guest list that included Wilko Johnson, Wayne Kramer, Neville Staple, Beki Bondage, Charlie Harper, TV Smith and more.

Now they’ve lived up to their name and mutated into something more interesting: an unlikely cross-cultural, pan-generational mash-up of seasoned British rockers with cult Japanese artists such as Guitar Wolf, The 5678s and the Neatbeats.

Around a musical nucleus that includes sometime Sinead O’Connor and Adam Ant sideman Chris Constantinou, Prodigy guitarist Paul Frazer and legendary Damned veteran Rat Scabies, this sprawling supergroup tackle an impressive range of revved-up styles with a pleasingly large number of female vocalists, often singing in Japanese.

Not every experiment comes off, but the quality threshold is generally high. The twangsome surf-rock storytelling ballad Bamboo Moon and the Cramps-style blues-punk boneshaker Mama’s Got A Brand New Knife are strong standouts, but the knockout cut has to be the shamelessly Ramones-ish Hey Ho! Fuck You, an exhilarating blast of bubblegum chainsaw speedpunk that’s totally disposable yet totally great. More please./o:p

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.