Listen to 405 Radio
  • No Events

    We'll get something in the diary soon

Shonen Knife – Osaka Ramones: A Tribute to the Ramones

Shonen Knife – Osaka Ramones: A Tribute to the Ramones

by , 27 October 2011

Our often deep-seated cynicism about cover albums isn't without justification. Routinely deployed by creatively exhausted bands to fulfil contractual obligations in the absence of new material, tribute records can be a dispiriting prospect. Then of course there's the prospect of Japan's premier punk outfit raiding the back catalogue of the Ramones...

In stark contrast to so many tribute albums, this project makes a great deal of creative sense and offers endless tantalizing possibilities. New York's punk pioneers have had so large an influence on Osaka's Shonen Knife that the Japanese all-girl trio have occasionally performed as tribute act the Osaka Ramones. In what feels like the most natural of moves, this disc revisits that concept to celebrate not only the livewire sound of America's best punk band but also the 30th anniversary of the Japanese group who could count Kurt Cobain among their fans.

Much has changed for Shonen Knife since the days when their live show turned the Nirvana frontman “into a hysterical nine-year-old girl.” Lead vocalist and guitarist Naoko Yamano is the only member remaining from their formation in 1981, but Osaka Ramones shows that newer members Ritsuko Taneda and Emi Morimoto are well integrated on bass and drums respectively. It also shows how deep the group's love for the Ramones is; their choices of songs to cover include a few classics, but also some fan-friendly curveballs like 'Scattergun' from the final Ramones album, ¡Adiós Amigos! from 1995.

In each and every case, Ramones material and Shonen Knife performance turns out to be a marriage made in punk heaven. Yamano's basic eccentricity and especially her struggles to pronounce sounds which don't exist in Japanese add extra humour to 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'The KKK Took My Baby Away', while 'She's the One' benefits from the change in gender perspective to become an odd girl-on-girl love song.

Admittedly limited as they are, Osaka Ramones faultlessly achieves its aims. A lovingly-made album of faithful but dynamic covers which often flirts with genuine hilarity, it's an unmissable prospect for fans of either the Ramones or Shonen Knife themselves. For many people 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' sums up the former band's discography, and it performs the same function here; if you don't love this deliriously fun rendition from your first listen, this isn't the record for you.

Rating: 8.5/10

Purchase and listen

Don't Miss Out

Related Reviews

  • Rob St. John - Weald

    Rob St. John - Weald

    by Aurora Mitchell

    Some music is just made for you to stare out onto a beautiful foggy landscape and contemplate all of life’s big questions – or more simply put, thinking music. Rob St. John produces thinking music but not the kind of moping, self indulgent moaning that you’d associate with Drake’s lovelorn whinging that somehow manages to sound good. [read more]

  • Paul McCartney - Kisses On The Bottom

    Paul McCartney - Kisses On The Bottom

    by Richard Kavanagh

    The enigma that is Paul McCartney. He is the writer of some of the best pop songs in history, melodist extraordinaire and the go to guy if you need a headliner for a charity festival. He has also not been able to recreate the magic of his earlier compositions in his recent work. It’s not that surprising really; he no longer has to compete with John Lennon and trying to better himself is, to be fair, one big ask. [read more]

  • Paper Dollhouse - A Box Painted Black

    Paper Dollhouse - A Box Painted Black

    by Chloe Eversfield

    I’ve always been obsessed with conjuring cinematic images to compliment some of my favourite songs, and it’s clear that this urge to put images to sound is also inherent in Astrud Steedhouder’s solo project Paper Dollhouse, named incidentally after the 1988 cult horror film Paperhouse. [read more]

  • Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory

    Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory

    by Buzz Stas

    In 2010, a then teenage Dylan Baldi wooed all us music-types with a spate of lo-fi, grungy pop EPs recorded in his bedroom under the moniker of Cloud Nothings. Since then, he’s successfully kept our attention with numerous tours, and a slightly shinier, but still charmingly slap-dash debut full-length in 2011, alongside triumphantly moving out of his Mum’s house, and turning the big two-zero. [read more]


Follow Us

Recommended Posts

Popular Posts

Mailing List

Sign up to our weekly mailing list.