Good Charamel Records
I am happy that Shonen Knife are still playing their joyful odes to simple things. It’s been 35 years since the band formed to bring the freedom of punk rock and love for food and fun to the world. The first major release of Shonen Knife music in the US was actually a double album called Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them, with American bands like Redd Kross, Big Dipper, L7 and Sonic Youth covering the bands songs about candy bars and sad bison. When I finally heard the band, I too was enchanted with their sloppy punk enthusiasm and unselfconscious joy in simple pleasures like public baths and Barbies.
Thirty-five years on, Shonen Knife are better musicians, but they’re still enthusiastic about food, animals and rock and roll. The album kicks off with “Jump Into The New World”, with a chorus stating the Shonen Knife mission statement, “jump into the new world, with a happy song in your heart.”
Happy songs is what we get on Adventure: happy songs about tangerines, Wasabi, emoji, Hawaiian vacations and rock and roll t-shirts. The songs about bees and dog fights aren’t so happy, but there are things that even Shonen Knife don’t like. The sound on Adventure is clean and professional and a little bit flat. Call me a curmudgeon, but I miss the barely hanging together enthusiasm of the early records (but can’t you say that about almost any band that has survived for 35 years?).
I’d really love to see Shonen Knife again. I’m sure they’re still super cute and super fun on stage. I still have my rock and roll t-shirt from when I saw them at the Limelight in NYC a lifetime ago. I’ll wear it to their show if only they would come to Florida.