shonen knife Adventure (CD, £10.50)label: Damnably
Japanese cult pop punk trio Shonen Knife celebrate their 35th Anniversary in 2016 with their 19th album Adventure. Formed in Osaka by guitarist and chief songwriter Naoko in 1981, Japan's Shonen Knife rose from humble DIY beginnings crafting their own idiosyncratic songs, and fashioning their own brightly coloured outfits, to sharing a stage with Nirvana on their Nevermind tour, trailblazing a path for women in music and inspiring legions of bands. Adventure sees the band delving deeper in to the 70s rock leanings that they explored on their last album Overdrive. As Naoko explains; "passing through the 70s, the music genre which was born as rock'n'roll developed to ROCK. This album is like that." Musical references include Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and Deep Purple, but of course, this is Shonen Knife, so there is still an excitable pop element to the music. There are catchy hooks and 60s girl-group inspired harmonies along the way but the album is firmly rooted in 70s Rock. The album continues the Shonen Knife tradition of singing about food. "Wasabi" is a Motorhead-esque ode to Japan's favourite condiment and "Green Tangerine" is about Kabosu tangerines which are tiny and green and used like a lemon, they are a local specialty of Risa's hometown Oita. "Cotton Candy Clouds" is based on one of Naoko's favourite motifs, cotton candy. It plays homage to 70s era Beatles with a colourful arrangement and layered vocal harmonies. Despite their 35 years as a band, Shonen Knife still sound as fresh and vital as they ever did. They have maintained their rightful place in the ever-changing indie rock scene as one of the most influential and beloved of Japanese rock exports. Live, they are tight with machine-precision, punching out fast, highly exciting sets of Punk, Pop, Rock & Metal hits, all coated with their own distinctively quirky and life-affirming charm.
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