When Shonen Knife roared out of Osaka, Japan, Ronald Reagan was in the first year of his first term, The Ramones were just four years into their world domination plan and the Pop pixies of Puffy Ami Yumi were 8 and 6, respectively. The trio has surfed the vagaries of an excitedly indifferent music industry, the brutal whims of fickle fandom and the shifting soundscape of popular opinion by embracing every genre and filtering them through their Pop/Punk prism in pursuit of the perfect naive musical moment. Those moments are all over the Knife’s latest disc, Super Group — the Garage Pop of “Slug,” the Prog ambitions of “Muddy Bubble Hell,” the Country/Punk nod of “Deer Biscuits,” the acid-burnt sheen of “Pyramid Power,” and their joyously breathless reading of Sir Paul’s “Jet.” Super Group is Shonen Knife’s first album with new bassist Ritsuko and features all English lyrics, but who listens to Shonen Knife for the profound message? Cuckoo evil birds may well be building nests on their balconies but we can only thank the stars that Shonen Knife has the skills to set that indignant act to an infectiously ass-shaking soundtrack.
You’ll Dig It If You Dig: Grrl power creates the soundtrack to Popzilla. (Brian Baker)
What about this new album then?
‘Super Group’ is the 14th album from Shonen Knife, released in the UK on DAMNABLY. The CD features exclusive artwork and bonus live tracks recorded from their first UK show in 15 years at the Brixton Windmill in 2009.
“When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.” Kurt Cobain
Who are Shonen Knife?
The groundbreaking all-female Japanese, pop-punk trio formed in Osaka in 1981, when Naoko first heard late ‘70’s punk-pop like The Ramones.Inspired, the band crafted their own idiosyncratic songs, fashioned brightly coloured outfits and DIY albums. In 1985, K
Records released ‘Burning Farm’ in the US. Deals with Sub Pop and various Majors followed. 1989 saw the crème of the alt. rock scene (including Sonic Youth, L7 and Redd Kross) covering their favourite Shonen Knife songs on the tribute album ‘Every Band Has A
Shonen Knife Who Loves Them’. They toured with Nirvana (on the ‘Nevermind’ tour), The Breeders and as part of Lollapalooza. They recorded sessions for John Peel and appeared on MTV’s ‘Beavis and Butthead’. Shonen Knife were the first Japanese act to break through to the west, and they remain one of the most influential. Almost 30 years on, a few lineup changes and 15 albums later, they're still as super-punk-pop rockin and fun as ever. The band will play All Tomorrow’s Parties curated by Matt Groening in May, as well as a UK/Europe Tour.
What does it sound like?
Infectious, kooky songs on a variety of offbeat topics. From the inevitable ego clashes in a ‘super group’, the misnomer of immortality (‘Pyramid Power’) to the joys of outdoor cooking (‘BBQ Party’). From sugary-pop to uber-heavy rock that sounds like Motorhead in Wonka Land, Super Group is full of youthful exuberance, yet delves into the mysteries of life from deer parks to the nature of stardom. It’s deep, it’s light, it’s super-mental pop-punk ROCK.
Totally original and outrageously loveable.