Shonen Knife – Pop Tune
Pop Tune is Shonen Knife’s 18th album. Ponder that a moment: the Osaka Ramones have now comfortably overtaken the actual Ramones’ recorded output, with only minimal variations to their kawaii-punk style along the way. And here they are again, for the third time in the space of a year, peddling characteristically irreverent songs about all-you-can-eat restaurants (sample lyric: “Don’t forget to take some vegetables/ vegetables/ vegetables”) and paperclips (“man fastens a document/ puts it in an envelope/ takes it to the post office to send it”).
Surely they’ve outstayed their welcome by now; pushed fans to the point of exhaustion with their incessantly cheery melodies and cutesy lyrical conceits? No chance: Pop Tune is their most irresistible offering in years, softening the heavier edge of predecessor Free Time and purifying their songwriting in the process. Fingers crossed closer Move On isn’t taken literally; they’re already covering precisely the right ground.