THE MUTANTS - Tokyo Nights

Back in 2013 Chris Constantinou (Adam & the Ants) and Paul Frazer (Black Futures and the Prodigy) had the idea to make a record that would involve old school punk legends. Initially they got Rat Scabies (The Damned) to lay down the drums, but eventually widened their net to include members of The Specials, MC5, Stiff Little Fingers, UK Subs, The Adverts and Dr Feelgood. And so was born their debut release "Rhythm & Punk Review".

Now they're back with their follow up, but taking a significantly different course. Out go the stalwarts of the original punk scene and in come the very best of Japanese garage, surf and rockabilly in an effort to shine a light into the dark recesses of the vibrant Tokyo music scene.

In truth a lot of the names of contributors and their bands were new to me - Guitar Wolf, Rockin' Enocky, The Golden Wet Fingers, The 5678s and Samurai Death Wish - but in a way that only allowed me to hear the music with fresh ears uncluttered by any preconceptions. Whilst English is presumably not the first language of many of the singers, the energy still shines through in their passionate vocals. Indeed eight of the tracks feature female vocalists which is a novel concept for any compilation.

So what do you get? Well certainly an eclectic style of sounds and genres. Link Wray guitars mix with bluesy harmonicas on Ennio Morricone spaghetti-western punk rock(abilly) soundtracks. For me my favourite has to be the Kamikaze blast of Ramones/Shonen Knife inspired "Hey! Ho! F*ck You!" by the "Let's Go's". However, its a safe bet to say that most people will find something here to satisfy them, as each track has a different and individual feel due to the myriad of contributors taking part.

Its certainly something different to the mainstream releases and a worthwhile attempt at harnessing the mayhem of cultural fusion. So if you fancy "Turning Japanese", if only temporarily, give the album a try when it's released in July. Sayonara baby!