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Shonen Knife

Pop Tunes

Good Charamel Records

At long last, here's my chance to write about Shonen Knife, the goofy point band for the J-Pop movement. These Osaka babes take the beats and attitudes of the punk/New Wave sound and tart them up in kawaii cute, and they've been top of the pops for just about three decades. Pop Tune is their 19th disc and like the 18 before it, it's dripping with infectious and upbeat pop tunes. The catchy hooks and silly, nearly nonsensical lyrics sound all the more surreal under this thick Japanese accent. This collection's most Ramones-like cuts include the bouncy "Osaka Rock City" and "Welcome to the Rock Club." Both feature head banging guitar riffs and lyrics that glorify an ear-deafening lifestyle.

The song I keep coming back to is the silliest: "All You Can Eat" spends 3:06 in the Golden Corral and reminds you "don't forget to take some vegetables" and something about eating a "marsh-e-mellow." The title track offers a true love song: "When I listen to the music I get bow-wow/ when I hear my radio I get me-ow." If this music were drone metal or Morrissey suicidal, this lyric would induce a few hundred words on the pointlessness of life, but with the Shonen Knife sound stuck in my brain, I can't stop being happy with this disc on repeat. Everybody POGO!

Shonen Knife: www.goodcharamel.com www.shonenknife.com