CHAI make music for us all. While this might seem to imply a worrying lack of personality to the uninitiated, you’ll know better simply by looking at their artwork. The Japanese, all female, foursome (two pairs: twin sisters, and best friends) make punk so charming even those that run at the mention of The Clash won’t be able to resist, delve into pop so energetically that the strictest purist will be powerless to stop from cracking a grin: they’re rockers so in your face with their glee that you’ll want to invite them inside.

If you only became aware of them with last year’s reissue of their debut, PINK, it will seem CHAI sprinted into a follow up, but in truth, the band took a bit of time with their sophomore LP.

With the change of a single letter, PUNK represents the other side of their personality, with the rest of their ethos already perfectly captured by their perfect first title. CHAI are a band that employ simplicity to express quite a bit more than a lot.

The music, as ever, sticks to this principle, with each and every song on PUNK representing a pure undiluted burst of energy. Opener ‘Choose Go!’ expresses itself immediately: just go out and get it, already! Do what you will, and don’t let anything get you down. From many bands, these sentiments may ring hollow and tired, but coming from CHAI, you can’t help but feel the damn love.

Indeed, the majority of the songs here state their missions bluntly: ‘Great Job’, ‘I’m Me’, ‘Wintime’, and ‘This is Chai’ round out the LP’s Side A, and this music is all the more powerful (and winsome) for its immediacy.

This isn’t to call CHAI without nuance. ‘Fashionista’ digs into our global culture’s obsession with beauty standards, and righteously picks them apart, all without losing that sense of ceaseless fun for even the slightest moment.

Often sung in Japanese with flourishes of English, the mystery of the band’s words (for most of us) turns out so serve CHAI well. Whatever the band might precisely be saying on ‘Family Member’, the listener can always feel the sentiment, and the band’s emotions caress the listener, seeming to bypass the language barrier entirely. Not a thing seems lost in translation, and the band didn’t need to spend an entire film feeling sorry for themselves.

As far as sophomore slumps go, CHAI clearly have no concept of the jinx. PUNK takes everything PINK did so well and simply goes bigger and better. Where the band felt charmingly homegrown on their debut, PUNK feels clearly designed to take on the expanded, international playing field CHAI has found themselves on. Their musicianship has clearly grown, with playful riffs and insistent drumming to make even the oldest British rocker proud. With punk rock in recent years (with exceptions, naturally) often feeling lost, clogged down by stodgy, traditionalist might, it turns out a gleeful squad of freewheeling Japanese ladies is exactly the breath of fresh air the scene has been needing. Unafraid to delve into their every whim, from the accomplished to the adventurous to the absurd, CHAI are just about as now as you can get without stumbling into the unrealized.