Shonen Knife is one of those rare bands that basically figured out what it does well, perfected it, and then changed course in no fundamental way over the course of three decades. What they do is pretty straightforward: superficially scrappy and amateurish but deeply tight and tuneful punk-pop that closely follows the template first created by the Ramones (Shonen Knife's previous release was, in fact, a brilliant homage titled Osaka Ramones). They sing in charmingly near-idiomatic English, and write undeniable melodies and perfectly constructed songs. All of this is to say that if you know (and almost certainly love) Shonen Knife, you know exactly what to expect on Pop Tune and will almost certainly love it as well. It's technically possible, but kind of redundant, to identify highlights on this album: "Osaka Rock City" and "Welcome to the Rock Club" are both brilliant in exactly the ways you'd expect. "All You Can Eat" edges into Beatlesque territory but saves itself from pretense by keeping the lyrics whimsical and the guitars super-crunchy. "Paper Clip" slows things down a bit further, but the lush vocal harmonies bump up against guitars that are crudely jangly and keep the D.I.Y. mood intact. The occasional recorder and kazoo only add to the weirdo charm of this very fine album.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson