FRANK CHICKENS Get Chickenized (Renaissance)

FRANK CHICKENS Club Monkey (Renaissance)

These are the second and third albums from the Japanese female duo Frank Chickens, forever slightly famous (or so my old punk mate Vic says when I asked him about them) for the John Peel fave and indie hit "We Are Ninja". I’d flippantly compare their music to the likes of Shonen Knife and Cibo Matta (especially) (i.e. to the only other Japanese girl groups I’ve heard of), but there does seem to be a similar kind of joyous exultation in the language barrier (they sing in slightly befuddled English) as well as an early, primitive exposition of Cibo Matta’s electronic/dance leanings (although the later "Club Monkey" benefits from a more exotic range of instrumentation, including pan pipes, flute, accordion, clarinet, tin whistles, jews harp and, it says here, household appliances). Not bad, not too difficult, the press release for once gets it pretty much right, saying "they can best be described as an art-pop group with a dadaist sense of humour...they are influenced by David Bowie, Monty Python, pop art, Gilbert and George and Mary Norton’s classic book "The Borrowers"". Whether you’re actually itching for two CDs’ worth of music that sounds like that, however, is probably best left to your own ears to decide.