Shonen Knife, CJ Ramone 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., June 7, 9 p.m. 2015

Crunchy riff, unbearably cutesy lyrics about animals, crunchy riff, unbearably cutesy lyrics about food: Japanese pop-punk trio Shonen Knife have a formula, and (despite personnel changes) they do not deviate. Nor should they. Everybody likes to pretend the essence of rock/punk is anarchy and attitude, but Shonen Knife know that Elvis and for that matter the Sex Pistols, were charming because they were unabashed novelty acts. “Anarchy in the UK . . . it might be a mistake,” the group declares on their last masterpiece, 2010’s Free Time. Their latest, 2014’s Overdrive (Good Charamel Records), isn’t quite up to that standard. Plus it doesn’t have the wackily sublime energy of their greatest 90s tracks like “Fish Eyes,” which whimsically riffed on cross-cultural alienation from the piscine point of view. Still, even if it’s not top-drawer Knife, Overdrive has plenty of pleasures for fans, like “Green Tea,” about green tea; “Shopping,” about shopping; “Fortune Cookie,” about what you’d expect; and “Like a Cat,” which must be Shonen Knife’s 20th song about cats (“Meow, meow, meow / Fancy free like a cat /Meow, meow, meow/ Spend your days like a cat”). If ever a band deserved a kitten endorsement, Shonen Knife is it—and what could be higher praise than that? —Noah Berlatsky

Price: $15

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