Picks and Pans Review: Pretty Little Baka Guy

updated 06/08/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Shonen Knife

And now a nomination for the strangest novelty album to make it onto recent FM play-lists. Perhaps the idea of Japanese women playing electric guitars, keyboards and drums doesn't seem odd at first. But Pretty Little Baka Guy, the U.S. debut album by the trio Shonen Knife (Shonen is "boys" in Japanese) bears little resemblance to your average rock 'n' roll record. Take the song/ Wanna Eat Choco Bars. Rarely has a put so much seemingly sincere emotion into singing "I eat choco bars everyday two bars per a day." Then there's the peppy chorus to the tune Public Bath: "I like public bath. I'm looking forward to eating ice cream after my bath time." We're talking serious sugarholics here. The few songs Shonen Knife sings in English still sound like Japanese, and the lyrics printed on the album sleeve don't always clear up the meaning. If anyone can explain the exclamation, "Extract of Kappa! Chu chu chu," please send word. Shonen Knife's music is another oddity. The band reproduces a mid-'60s bubble gum style with authenticity that far exceeds revivalist efforts by many U.S. bands. Somehow this group creates a trebly sound possessing all the frightening tackiness of a '60s movie sound track. One conceivable explanation for the very peculiar nature of Pretty Little Baka Guy is that it's all mostly a very hip joke. But judging by the publicity photos of the band members in silk blouses, long skirts and pumps, these women don't seem the satirical type. (Subversive Records, PO Box 552, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33302)

From Our Partners