Overdrive finds Japanese all-woman trio Shonen Knife shooting for ’70s hard rock glory. As the title forewarns, the guitars are loud and the amps are most certainly Marshalls. 

 

There’s Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies, Sabbath-meets-Aerosmith riffing and vocalist Naoko unfurling a bunch of amusing and considerably goofy lyrics.

 

With songs such as ‘Green Tea’, ‘Fortune Cookie’ and ‘Ramen Rock’, it appears Shonen Knife are willingly playing to a Japanese stereotype. And given they’re paying tribute to a subculture built on stereotypes (glamorous party animals/drug addicts, busty pinup girls/misogyny), it’s most apt they’ve incorporated their own clichОd interests.

 

It’s interesting to note Shonen Knife have been churning out albums since the early ’80s, and this marks a departure from their usual vintage pop-punk shtick. The genre tribute and lyrical humour nominates it as a Japanese Spinal Tap spinoff. Yet, while Spinal Tap’s tunes are listenable for the comedic kicks, not many stand up as enduring rock songs. Overdrive, on the other hand, deposits genuine excitement. 

 

It’s gag-filled and lacking any emotional depth, but since when was that a worry? Overdrive deserves to played damn loud with green tea soft serve smeared all over your head-banging face.

 

3.5/5.

 

Overdrive is out now through Valve / MGM.

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