Shonen Knife

Yama no Attchan

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The year between the recording of their first record, 1983's Burning Farm, and their second, 1984's Yama-no Attchan, allowed Shonen Knife to improve their musicianship a touch. Not enough to mess up their innocent charm, but enough to make this record an improvement over their already quite good debut. The songs are just a bit stronger too. "Cycling Is Fun" bounces along on a near-Motown beat the likes of which they couldn't have done a year earlier, "Chinese Song" betrays the influence of dub punk like the Slits and the Raincoats, "Flying Jelly Attack" sports a killer bubblegum chorus and some tight riffing, and "Dali's Sunflower" betrays some heavy metal influence thanks to heavy power chords and guest guitarist Yasushi Utsunomiya's guitar mangling. The lyrical topics are just as wacky, though, covering insect collecting, leaves, cycling and cannibal plants. All in all, a stronger record than Burning Farm; more joyous, more memorable and more fun. Together they play like the blueprint for much of the American indie pop of the '80s and '90s. [As on Burning Farm a few of the songs here -- "Cycling Is Fun," "Insect Collector" and "Flying Jelly Attack" -- were re-recorded for 1993's Let's Knife].

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