Praised by Nirvana and influenced by the Ramones, the trio take a break from family life to record their twentieth album
Osaka’s punk pop ambassadors Shonen Knife were already a decade old when Nirvana’s patronage resulted in a burst of ’90s fame for the trio. Twentieth album ‘Overdrive’ finds founder, singer and guitarist Naoko Yamano paying tribute to the hard rock sounds of her youth. Instead of the band’s default Ramones influence, these 10 songs about animals and food are serviced by the stomp of Led Zeppelin (‘Black Crow’), the riffs of Black Sabbath (‘Green Tea’) and the swagger of Thin Lizzy (‘Bad Luck Song’). The turgid ‘Robots From Hell’ aside, they carry it off. Pay close attention and the buzzing ‘Jet Shot’ and superficially banal ‘Shopping’ disguise personal and political lyrics far smarter than Shonen Knife’s cartoon image suggests.