You're Not the Only One

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Although Blew is a Japanese punk band, they're neither extreme noise terrorists along the lines of the Boredoms nor kitschy giggles like Shonen Knife or the's. In fact, on first exposure, one would think that singer Takuro Kawase is perhaps from Washington, D.C. (there's a strong hint of Ian MacKaye in Kawase's vocals style) and that the album dates from the mid-'80s heyday of Hüsker Dü, early Soul Asylum, and other groups who married the intensity of hardcore punk to unashamedly poppy melodies. Songs like the ultra-catchy "Promises" and the Replacements-like shout-along rocker "Eight Hours a Day" are immediately likeable; even the challengingly titled "What the Fuck Are You Talking About?" is powered along by a chugging rhythm guitar riff and Kawase's hoarse but tuneful vocals. Although Blew disbanded shortly after the release of this album, it's a powerful and enjoyable listen that makes the lack of a follow-up a real shame.

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