Shonen Knife - Osaka Ramones - Tribute to Ramones

by Steve Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2011-08-15

Shonen Knife finally release a collection of Ramones covers, 13 years since I saw them perform as The Osaka Ramones at Tokyo's Club Quattro (supported by the quite magnificent's). At the time, I was quite perplexed, having seen The Ramones play in Rotterdam almost 20 years earlier, but came away from the gig with a big smile on my face, my faith in my favourite Japanese band intact.

Since that night in Shibuya, news of The Osaka Ramones spread, first across the Pacific and then over the Atlantic to Europe, with fans of the threesome anxious to see them don their motorbike jackets for more shows as Shonen Knife's alter ego. And now, we have Osaka Ramones - Tribute to Ramones, a collection of 13 numbers that will be familiar to any fans of the band that have come to personify the idea of American punk music.

The Osaka-based trio have remained faithful to the originals, yet there is a fresh energy to the covers which will be familiar to anyone fortunate enough to have seen Shonen Knife live. It's unmistakeably them, but there is a respect for the originals which shows how influential the music was on the band when Noako, Atsuko and Michie got together almost 30 years ago.

Opening with 'Blitzkrieg Bop', the album touches base with many of The Ramones' finest moments. 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker', 'Rockaway Beach' and 'Pinhead' are notable highs. However, for this reviewer, the pick of this baker's dozen is 'The KKK Took My Baby Away', a track I first heard performed not by The Ramones, but by a rather less well-known band from Japan, gloriously named The Dogz Bollox, who used to include several Ramones covers in their live set.

And it is this raw power which will ensure that, whether it's Shonen Knife or a covers band in a bar, the legacy of The Ramones will never disappear. If you're a fan of The Ramones or Shonen Knife, you'll like Osaka Ramones - Tribute to Ramones. If you like both if them, you'll love it.

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