Japan has always had a liking of Ramones styled punk-pop. Perhaps their most famous export are Fat Wreck signings Hi-Standard, whom despite their love of dog poo, Elvis suits and heavy accents, could musically rival any of their US counterparts. Formed in 2012, Tokyo’s Nerdy Jugheads are every bit as good – though perhaps not quite as bonkers – and as their name suggests, at least one band member has an obsession with Screeching Weasel, a band to whom they pay homage more than any other.
‘Introduction To The Record’ is exactly that: this eighteen second instrumental could have been a silly joke, or even a throwaway track, but it’s actually an ingenious plan to introduce the band and give a clear indication of how great they are musically. Their tightness is without question. The buzzsaw rhythm guitars are loud and crisp, the drums have an equal power and the lead guitar drops in an almost cartoon-like tune that could have been lifted from at least a half dozen Weasel tracks. It sounds like an intro to a killer punk track, so it seems odd to leave it at that. The promise set up by this intro comes through on the rest of the material, though, and ‘Chupacabra’ – not a Chixdiggit! cover – begins with a similar intent, with Memma’s lead guitar bouncing all over a timeless punky riff. The lead vocals are assured and far less accented than Hi-Standard, and they really assert themselves throughout the verse. It’s the chorus where everything takes an extra leap, though, with a simple hook that makes great use of the title and throws in shameless whoahs to ensure it sticks in the head. In under two minutes, The Nerdy Jugheads have delivered everything you’d hope for from a piece of melodic punk-pop and already proved they’re a match for any seasoned band doing similar work.
A lightning bolt clocking in at under a minute, ‘She Just Wants To Eat My Brain’ could be any one of a hundred punk pop tracks from the nineties. As before though, the Jugheads flaunt their love of Weasel in both the thunderous rhythm and tuneful lead. The vocals come at breakneck pace, and while it’s not always so easy to work out the lyrics, the main melody is another winner. This time out, some listeners might hear more than a trace of The Queers’ ‘Ursula Finally Has Tits’ or one or two Teenage Bottlerocket numbers, but when performed with such sharpness and such enthusiasm, it’s churlish to knock it for obvious lifts. The end results are superb.
The remaining pair of tracks stretch out a little duration wise, though not necessarily in style. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go The Nuthouse’ offers a Ramones-esque title and wanton repetition over a simpler buzz-saw riff. What this potentially lacks lyrically is made up for musically, with a huge guitar tone and rattling bass filling almost every available space. Like most things of this ilk, you’ve heard it all before, but it still has plenty of charm. ‘My Head’s Killing Me’ drops a really incessant and ridiculously infectious hook, a truckload of punky melody and a Weasel-esque solo of singular notes. Vocalist Yossy appears to relish every moment and the rest of the band show off another exercise in lean, mean and fast playing, with some superb muted notes providing a great breakdown during the mid section. It’s punk rock 101, but these guys have nailed it.
This EP starts well, maintains that momentum and ends excellently, really bringing some positive punk vibes throughout. A genuine feelgood release, it’s one that fans of the Ramonescore movement should pick up at the earliest convenience. It’s a pity it’s so bloody short.