Once described by uber-fan Kurt Cobain as “pop, pop, pop music” , the legendary Osaka trio Shonen Knife are celebrating forty years in the business. Naoko Yamano, sister Atsuko Yamano and Risa Kawano are the current line-up, with the most recent album Our Best Place garnering huge acclaim.
Often described as “the Osaka Ramones”, the band have endured because of their catchy songs which fuse melody with punky power, and a mischievous sense of humour.
Despite being influenced by bands like The Buzzcocks, Motorhead and The Ramones, they refuse to song angry or political songs, as they want to bring joy and playfulness to their songs. Why rant, when you can sing about ice cream and bicycles?
I interviewed Naoko a few years ago for Across The Arts, and she said cats were one of the band’s favourite subjects to write songs about because “they’re so cute and selfish- I love that!”
They have been through different line-ups and toured the world many times, but always keep a signature sound which is absolutely timeless. Happy 40th anniversary, ladies. You still rock .