At the time of writing, they were undergoing a hefty and gruelling world tour promoting their new album, Overdrive which I'll delve into a little later. There's also a local venue which I'd hoped to get to save for work scheduling, so hopefully there'll be a next time. Their onstage persona and regalia resembles that of The Supremes (which they list as one of their influences as well as Buzzcocks and Ramones). Commercially Shonen Knife are not an overwhelming success, and their status I suspect is destined always to be cult. But where they scored huge points from me was from their previous album Pop Tune (read the link here), quirk filled, poppy and just plain simple pop/punk fun although the majority of their fans suggest their best material came from the 1990s.
Overdrive as a whole? For me, it feels hurried even for a punk band. Looking back at the lyrics they are at worst at a most primitive level, but I can see that Naoko Yamano has a full musical reign without any real outside influences or input from anybody else. Good thing too. I think it will improve with age if I don't get it now but in terms of message songs, they're simply promoting happiness across and when things are looking bleak, there's always ways and means of being picked up and getting back on your feet again. As one former band member Michie Nakatani put it,
"We've always enjoyed writing songs about everyday things. Besides, there are already enough bands out there singing about war, pollution and poverty. While we all care very much about these things, we also feel that music should be fun."
6.5 out of ten. Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.
Best track : Ramen Rock
Buy the album here on Amazon
Listen to the album here on Spotify
It's also available on Deezer here
Official Shonen Knife website. It's in Japanese however, so you may need Google Translator
Official Facebook page (in English) on this link here