Shonen Knife: Pop Tune
'Pop Tune' is the eighteenth studio album from the Japanese three piece Shonen Knife, which first formed in 1981 after its lead guitarist and singer Naoko Yamano first heard the Ramones.
'Pop Tune' is the first studio album to be released with their current line up. Kurt Cobain said of Shonen Knife, "When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine year old girl at a Beatles concert." That lead the band to become Nirvana's support act on several of the dates to promote 'Never Mind'. 'Pop Tune' sees the band doing what they they do best which is playing spunky, punky pop tunes.
'Welcome to the Rock Club' is new wave punky fun, guaranteed to make you jump up and down and to put a stupid grin on your face. It is to see why Cobain loved them so much.
The title track is fast and furious, like a female-inspired Beatles infused by punk rock, minimal but at the same time very tight. 'Osaka Rock City' has been chosen for the Japanese film 'Soul Flower Train', as its main theme. This sounds like a female version of the Buzzcocks or the Only Ones, while vocally Naoko's vocals recall those of Tracy Tracy from the Primitives at their catchiest.
'All You Can Rat' is another Beatles-influenced number but again quite punky. Much fun is to be had here while the vocals sound like Yoko Ono singing an early Beatles track.
'Paper Clip' is harmony-based, and gentle on the ears, a swooner which saves up its listener's energy for the next number to pogo too. 'Psychedelic Life' is sung by the band's new drummer Emi Morimoti, and again has a different flow to it. It sounds like the soundtrack to a TV documentary on the psychedelic movement.
'Mr J' is tightly knitted new wave fun, like watching 'Scooby Doo' through an infant's eyes. 'Ghost Train' is a fast, thrashy trip down punk's memory lane. 'Sunshine' is sung by the bassist Ritsuko Taneda, is more low key, a reflective track to sway along too.
'Move On' closes the album, is a gentle rocker, quite harmony-based, with cool new wave guitar, that, like much of this album, makes you smile as you jump around and forget about spilling your over priced pint.