Shonen Knife, Yama-No Attchan
The jangly beginnings of a trio of sweet-obsessed pop punks.
Though Shonen Knife are often typified as a trio of Japanese Ramones fans, their second album (not counting their 1982 cassette-only debut) shows that before they learned three-chord guitar riffs, their sound was more Athens, Georgia than Lower East Side, New York. Jangly, reverbed and barely-there guitars bow to unusually prominent bass lines and the women, not quite confident in their English skills, sing mainly in Japanese and the universal language of whoa, whoa's and yeah, yeah's.
Yama-no Attchan has its share of one-take stompers but they're paired with sunny tracks quirked up with sound effects: chirping synths on "Insect Collector," bicycle bells on "Cycling Is Fun," a taste of pentatonic scale and gong on "Chinese Song." The first two would later appear on 1993's Let's Knife alongside "Flying Jelly Attack," a bouncy garage-rock tribute to candy that contributes to the ladies 'eventual reputation as sweet-obsessed pop punks.
Just three years into their ongoing career, the band leaves plenty of room for improvement ("Bye Bye" soldiers on despite a maddeningly uneven beat), but already know how to crank out infectious tunes — and always in under three minutes.