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Super Group

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Album Review

Just how long can someone in rock & roll go on being naïve? Naoko Yamano has been the guitarist, lead vocalist, and principle songwriter with Shonen Knife since 1981, and more than 25 years after recording the band's debut album, she's still writing the same kind of songs she did when she was 21, reveling in the joys of food, feeding animals at the park, playing music, and various goofy sci-fi scenarios. Shonen Knife sound like they've learned more than a few tricks over the years on 2009's Super Group — Yamano's guitar work is much more confident and technically precise than it was back in the day, and the rhythm section of Ritsuko Taneda on bass and Etsuko Nakanishi on drums (who respectively joined the group in 2006 and 2005) is simple but right on the money. Put the three together and Shonen Knife sound like a sweetly enthusiastic pop-punk combo, not unlike the Ramones as interpreted by a bunch of hipper-than-average Girl Scouts, which is just what the world has come to expect of this band. But it seems curious that Yamano doesn't sing with much more expertise than she does after fronting a band for so long, and while only a fool would expect her to suddenly write lyrics like Leonard Cohen, the style that seemed charmingly childlike in the early '80s appears curiously willful and a bit stunted as Yamano's fiftieth birthday looms on the horizon. On the surface, Super Group sounds just as good (though not notably better) than the albums that won Shonen Knife a cult following back in the '80s. But the energy and goofball charm that were so much a part of what made them memorable aren't what they used to be, and what once was heartfelt now plays like the work of a writer following a format instead of a gal sharing her candy-colored dreams to the world. [For its release in the United States, Super Group gained a bonus track, "Evil Birds," which is on a par with the rest of the album; it adds value for loyal fans, but doesn't change the tone of the disc much at all.]

Customer Reviews

Yeah Man I Love Shonen Knife

Im Happy To Find There New Album iTunes You Rock :D

OMG The Cover art.

This album is great spoof/notreal/real jrock. For sure. Shonen Knife(an otaku dig itself) has been making great music for ages.

That cover though, can you spoof Perfume/dream/vi-u-den any harder?!!!

there cute

&.. idk why but there outfits remind me of the color scheme for Totally spies. XD (and they are a parody of Charlie's Angels).


Formed: 1981 in Osaka, Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

During the early-'90s alternative wave, veteran Japanese indie rock trio Shonen Knife made major fans out of alt-rock's elite (Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Redd Kross, among others) and built a solid worldwide cult following with their Ramones meets the Beatles brand of sticky-sweet punk-pop. Formed by Michie Nakatani (vocals, bass), Naoko Yamano (vocals, guitar), and Atsuko Yamano (drums), Shonen Knife started in December 1981 in their hometown of Osaka, Japan, where all three members were working...
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