Samurai Shot

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The (tenth?) album from this talented Tokyo punk outfit finds them continuing to mine the rich vein of polished, high-speed rock & roll in which they've been digging since the early '90s. Fans of NOFX and Bad Religion will find much to love here, and although Nicotine's lyrics are sometimes unintentionally hilarious -- here's a sample couplet from "We Are Ready to Rock": "Bra bra bra bra bra bra bra bra/Take it away hey girls baby!" -- their solid chops, unflagging energy, and good-natured melodicism make it easy to ignore the words. "Killer Shark Attack" is a fun punk-ska romp, "In Your Mind" is a tender love song encased in a double-speed punk metal framework, and "La Clima Tropical" is a charming ode to California sunshine that sounds kind of like a cross between the early Police and the Offspring. Then there's the (hopefully intentionally) hilarious send-up of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" that ends the program.

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