Shonen Knife, Free Time

Long time fans will be relieved to know lead singer Naoko’s English accent remains unchanged: just the right side of comprehensible but occasionally straying into that weird place where the hard Japanese consonants fade into vowels already mushier than a heartbroken Michael Bolton whereupon it all becomes a glorious balm for the ears. My copy of the CD booklet even contains the word ‘lSuxury’ and I’m not so sure it’s a misprint.
Subject matter is as wacky as ever: jellyfish, stationary and a lost guitar all feature as does a gem of a song about South American rodent beastie the Capybara: “roly-poly body shape/swimming very well”. Shonen Knife don’t do depth but they do literal like no other.
Shonen Knife are often said to be a cure for the blues and this album is no exception but they can do angry too. “Economic Crisis” is as close to venting spleen you’ll ever get from the Japanese. “Where’s the missing money?” cries Naoko in vain. Many will concur with the sentiment.

Long time fans will be relieved to know lead singer Naoko’s English accent remains unchanged: just the right side of comprehensible but occasionally straying into that weird place where the hard Japanese consonants fade into vowels already mushier than a heartbroken Michael Bolton whereupon it all becomes a glorious balm for the ears. My copy of the CD booklet even contains the word ‘lSuxury’ and I’m not so sure it’s a misprint.

Subject matter is as wacky as ever: jellyfish, stationery and a lost guitar all feature as does a gem of a song about South American rodent beastie the Capybara: “roly-poly body shape/swimming very well”. Shonen Knife don’t do depth but they do literal like no other.

freetime-uk

Shonen Knife are often said to be a cure for the blues and this album is no exception but they can do angry too. “Economic Crisis” is as close to venting spleen you’ll ever get from the Japanese.  “Where’s the missing money?” cries Naoko in vain. Many will concur with the sentiment.

This review appears in London Tour Dates issue 74:

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Erland and the Carnival

The last time I saw folk music in action it was in a central London pizza parlour and the guy was dressed in pointy-hooded green medieval tabard with bells on one ankle and a foot-operated drum on his back. He actually used the words hey-nonny-no in one song. Read more

Drive Thru Review: Real life surfing

If you like surfing then you probably like surfing DVDs. At which point you hit the same problem all surfers over 9-years-old face: most surf films are either cheesy, sentimental homages with waves bigger than houses that try to get into the ‘soul’ of the sport (like the awful Laird) or just lame excuses to play droning Type O-Positive B-sides with the odd ‘ironic’ Bee Gees track while some drooling Goldie-ite talks about ‘charging’.

Update 25/4/08: My new Drive Thru soundtrack listing page is here.

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The Storys, Soho Revue Bar, 6th March

The following review appears in the latest edition of London’s premier music ‘zine, London Tour Datestd-18.JPG

Retuning instruments between songs is a pet hate of mine but in the name of chordal harmony I am oft prepared to swallow this unreasonable prejudice. Tweaking your strings during a song however, is surely beyond the pale. Seriously, will an audience of 30 & 40-somethings, mostly industry execs, friends and family getting pissed on a freebie really notice the odd semitone out? Rough and ready is not The Storys style. Read more