What about this new album then?
‘Free Time’ is the 15th studio album from Shonen Knife, released in
the UK/EUROPE on DAMNABLY on CD/Digital Download.
Who are Shonen Knife?
The ground‐breaking all‐female Japanese, pop‐punk trio formed in
Osaka in 1981, when Naoko first heard late ‘70’s punk‐pop,
particularly 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. 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.’ In 2010 the band played ATP, and toured the UK,
Europe, North America, China & Taiwan.
What do you need to know about this record?
Partly inspired by the band’s first UK Tour in 16 years, their new longplayer
was produced by Naoko and her manager Atsushi, and
recorded and mastered by Koichi Hara (Afrirampo/ ooioo/
Boredoms). This is the last SK album to feature 'super drummer'
Etsuko, who left the band after 6 years in 2010. This UK and Europe
version includes two bonus tracks: Rock'n 'Rock (Japanese Punk
version) and Capybara (Techno version). These were mastered by
Matthew Barnhart (sound engineer to The New Year, Midlake, The
New Pornographers, Superchunk and Silkworm).
What does it sound like?
‘Free Time’ follows on from the Classic Metal‐inspired 'Super Group'
album (2010). In places ‘Free Time’ pushes on to achieve a harder,
more muscular sound, like Motorhead covering a Dead Kennedy's
song. But that's not all ‐ the album has its quota of sugary‐pop‐punk
and even a techno track. With all three Knifes singing super‐high
harmonies, ‘Free Time’ could be J‐punk’s very own Wall of Sound.
Shonen Knife take on Bakunin & Kropotkin in Perfect Freedom and
question Anarchism and the concept of true freedom. Later, a
pissed‐off Naoko screams, “Where’s the missing money?” in
Economic Crisis. Do You happen to know? is a retro‐pop song about
Naoko's guitar, which disappeared at Heathrow after their ‘09 tour.
The happy life of a rodent – the South American Capybara ‐ gets a
tribute which for all the world sounds like a Fall song. No Shonen
Knife album is complete without a food based pop song and
Rock'n'Roll Cake is about as tasty as they come. A slice of dreamy
distorto‐pop filled with creamy fuzz and oozing images like:
“rolled cake, I want to sleep in it ‐ rolled cake, like hibernation‐ rolled
cake, I can have funny dreams ‐ yummy yummy rolled cake please.”
P.Y.O. is a playful delight of pop simplicity, inspired when the band
visited a pick your own farm in Sussex: “Cranberry, Strawberry,
Blueberry, Blackberry, Gooseberry, Coffeeberry, Raspberry, Chuck
Berry”. Perfect for Sesame Street or Yo Gabba Gabba. Love Song:
Ironically a song about disliking sentimental love songs that ends up a
non‐cheesey Pixies 'Velouria' ‐style love song itself. 30 years on
Shonen Knife rock harder, faster, funner and dress way fabber than
many of the hotly tipped young Turks of 2011. Ageism just met its
match and finally someone in music kicked crisis ass . As Naoko
says: “2011 is our 30th Anniversary‐Let’s ROCK!”
“When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a
hysterical nine‐year‐old girl at a Beatles concert.” Kurt Cobain
NME: “Osaka, Japan’s beloved Shonen Knife have now been churning
out mini pop‐punk masterpieces for bang on 30 years – not that
you’d be able to guess from the youthful pep of ‘Free Time’. The
heroic ladies sound just as fresh and enchantingly boisterous as they
ever have,” (7/10)
Uncut: “rocks like Motorhead designed by Hanna‐Barbara” (3/5)
BBC Music: “ The Osaka Ramones, you must concede, still have it.”
The Sunday Times: “…irrepressible slice of bounce‐along indie‐pop.
Beguiling.” Stewart Lee
Voted the winner of BBC 6Music’s ‘Rebel Playlist’ by a landslide
vote of 88%, which granted the single a play on every daytime
6Music show for a week plus album of the day on BBC 6Music
LondonPaper: “Part Shangri‐La’s, part Ramones, you can’t resist the
charm of lyrics … so give in, and don’t.”
Time Out London: “Punchy Pop‐Rock”
Artrocker: “Shonen Knife are brilliant”
Japan Times: “Shonen Knife are one of the most important bands in
history, even if the world at large doesn’t know it”
Subba‐cultcha: “brilliantly bonkers”
i love how punk is taking new approaches all around the globe. more about the attitude again. this surely is one to shine out.
truly, an entertaining way to scream out "fuck supressive machoism!" - like it. Rüdiger Jay