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Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk Review

by Zane Ewton

Osaka Popstar is the creation of John Cafiero and his brain fried by the sounds of punk rock and the images of Japanese cartoons. The mood is light and fun, but Cafiero enlists some heavy players to round out his album of songs about ninja monkeys and Cap'n Crunch.

The Ramone's Marky Ramone, the Misfits' Jerry Only, the Voidoids' Ivan Julian and Black Flag's Dez Cadena support Cafiero's vision by having a good time and delivering some loose, high-octane pop/punk rock. It looks as through as much work went in to the anime-themed booklet art as the music, making the whole package a kitschy delight.

The quick blasts of album opener "Wicked World", "Astro Boy", and "Sailor Moon" keep the album upbeat and lyrically ridiculous. While the overplayed bluegrass anthem "Man of Constant Sorrow: gets a fresh and glossy punk makeover. Rarely would a loud, summertime record include a Christmas song but here it makes perfect sense. Cafiero includes one of his favorites, "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't".

Two Richard Hell covers are highlights late into the album and include "Love Comes in Spurts" and "Blank Generation". The prerequisite teenage angst is most evident in the ode to breakfast cereal, "Where's the Cap'n?" The whole record is an adolescent fantasy world, trapped between Saturday morning cartoons and the ultimate doom that is adulthood.

Serious punk fans may balk at the apparent gloss of Osaka Popstar, but they would be missing out on one loud, fun and fantastically silly album. Did I mention it rocks too?

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