Shonen Knife

Fan Club CD

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Fan Club CD (1996) is a reissue of the four tracks included in the Knife Collectors (1993) package that Virgin Music Japan offered as a premium for those joining their North American Fan Club. Shonen Knife -- Michie Nakatani (vocals/bass), Naoko Yamano (vocals/guitar), and Atsuko Yamano (drums) -- had already been performing for well over a decade before they garnered the attention of indie-alternative rock acts such as Redd Kross, subsequently getting headlining gigs in support of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. Although there are only a quartet of cuts on Fan Club CD, they each provide interesting samplings of the trio's pop-meets-D.I.Y. ethos. The opener is the silly "Punk Animals," an unabashed pop song that is augmented by Yamano's wafting albeit heavily distorted fretwork that drives the three relatively gratuitous chord changes. The equally catchy "Gomi Day" is a slice-of-life ballad about missing garbage day, which is nothing short of inspirational as Shonen Knife celebrate the mundane and monotonous as only they can. Somewhat of a throwaway is the "la la la" replacing the lyrics on "Strawberry Cream Puff (Lala Version)." This is married to the grating sound of a cheap novelty keyboard, yielding a surreal and hopelessly dated backdrop. The final side is a tongue-in-cheek take on the kiddie group-participation classic, "Hokey Pokey." While it could be considered a throwaway, it is the naïve simplicity that makes tunes such as this so endearing to the combo's enthusiasts.

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