Shonen Knife

Knife Collectors

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This four-track EP was an incentive premium for members of the group's North American Fan Club. The disc came on the heels of their success opening for a variety of alternative acts, most notably Sonic Youth and Nirvana. It was packaged with a booklet and orange badge [read: pin] and sold during the tour. Shonen Knife consists of Michie Nakatani (vocals/bass), Naoko Yamano (vocals/guitar), and Atsuko Yamano (drums). Knife Collectors (1993) is much in keeping with their previous output as the all-female trio blend a surreal, punkish D.I.Y attitude to their undeniably quirky brand of pop and rock. "Punk Animals" give human attributes to pets -- a characteristic that became a prominently displayed motif within the band's canon. The cut is awash with distorted guitars, and the popish sing-song melody gives it a bouncy and terminally happy vibe throughout the relatively simple three-chord changes. "Gomi Day" is a catchy bubblegum pop-laced ode to taking out the garbage. Or, more specifically forgetting to do so, until "I hear the truck/I hear the warning." Although the subject matter may seem mindless on the surface, one of Shonen Knife's most charismatic qualities is their uncanny ability to transform ordinary life into small sonic celebrations. "Strawberry Cream Puff (Lala Version)" is -- as the moniker suggests -- a version with the monosyllabic "la" sung in place of the lyrics. The thrifty Casio-esque keyboard sound can be alternately endearing and nerve-racking, sometimes simultaneously. Without a doubt, the thoroughly demented reading of the children's follow-the-leader anthem, the "Hokey Pokey," makes Knife Collectors indispensable for enthusiasts of the ladies' bi-lingual Dadaism. There are no pretensions or subversive subtexts, just good ol' "right hand in/right hand out" fun. "That's what it's all about"...Indeed! While "Gomi Day" and the standard reading of "Strawberry Cream Puff " are available on the compilations Birds & the B-Sides (1996) as well as Brown Mushrooms & Other Delights (1993), the other two titles are exclusive to this release and also circulate under the name Fan Club CD (1996).

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