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Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - Sing in Japanese (EP Review)

Monday, 26 September 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes ‘Sing in Japanese’ (EP Review)

After this year’s ‘Go Down Under’ EP, which saw punk rock supergroup the Gimme Gimmes release their most foreign – in the most literal sense of the word – collection of comedy renditions to date, they have returned once again with another sprinkling of “hits” from a particular country – the nation in question being, on this occasion, the Land of the Rising Sun.

Image‘Sing in Japanese’ is arguably the band’s most outlandish work to date – and, as anyone familiar with their previous accomplishments will know, that really is saying something. However, bearing in mind that Japan is the birthplace of the Gimme Gimmes’ favourite pastime, karaoke, it’s probably fair to say that their latest release is also their most fitting.

After covering the likes of Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, Elton John and even Judy Garland on some of their previous offerings, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have opted, this time around, to redo classics by the likes of The Tigers, The Kai Band and Tulip. OK, so not many people in the UK and other English-speaking countries are likely to be hugely familiar with these groups, but listening to the Gimme Gimmes have a go at several 1970s Japanese hits makes for a frequently enjoyable listen.

As always, the band have thrown one or two classic punk riffs – from some slightly better-known acts - into the mix and eagle-eyed listeners should be able to spot the intro to Social Distortion’s ‘Story of My Life’ in the opening for Yoshida Takuro’s ‘Kekkon Shiyoyo’. Hearing singer Spike Slawson’s bold attempts at these songs, which must have been anything but an easy task, is likeable enough and easily makes up for the lack of the band’s usual objective to provide comedy through mocking familiarity.

The EP’s closing track, a delightful reggae-punk version of The Blue Hearts’ ‘Linda Linda’ – a song that was previously covered by Andrew WK on his 2008 album ‘The Japan Covers’ – provides an impressive end to this CD. While its appeal may be restricted to existing Gimme Gimmes fans, there’s little doubt that there are plenty of reasons here to be tempted by their latest offering. Bring on their next batch of international covers.

Stereoboard Rating: 8/10

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