Sweet Candy Power
Good Charamel Records
Here’s album number nineteen from Japan’s most successful punk rock export. Shonen Knife pounds out short, fun pop tunes based on the Ramones model of high-energy power punk. Get a catchy phrase, play fast, and don’t get complicated with the lyrics. State the obvious whenever possible and try to look really cute on stage.
Shonen Knife has down to a science. Anything is a fair topic, and like a trip to a late-night diner there’s always something to eat. This disk kicks off with the rollicking “California Lemon Trees.” This track shades us with a version of Peter, Paul and Mary vocals and some instructions on growing and using these sour yellow citrus standards. The vocals bubble and bounce, while the lyrics sometimes sound profound, and other times like a surreal session on Duo Lingo.
Filtered through Asian sensibility, these simple songs become simply wonderful. We have “Ice Cream Cookies” and “Peppermint Attack” to fill you up, and “My Independent Country” to rock you out with a touch of international politics. Title track “Sweet Candy Power” reflects on food as an important component of the successful rock tour, and it keeps these high energy women on tour. If you’ve not experienced a Shonen Knife session, you’ve been missing out on the cute, the funny, and the genuinely bizarre aspects of Japan’s contribution to world culture. Just try listening to a Shonen Knife CD without smiling.