Japanese born, New York citizen, Shu Nakamura has graced the pages of Blabber’n’Smoke on two previous occasions. As one half of the mysterious joshua and then with his fine solo album A Day Of Dreams which was a bewitching blend of Oriental and American influences. On his latest, Join The Spree, Nakamura tosses his hat into the punky power pop ring for the most part and comes up with an invigorating crunchy confection. While he proudly displays his Japanese roots on three songs sung in Japanese, Shihatsu Densha ni Notte, Donimo Tomaranai (a cover of a pop hit in Japan, the original has a decidedly Eurovision feel) and Ue Wo Muite Aruko he dresses them in a retro keyboard fuelled thrash with some squealing guitar thrown in for good measure. If Quentin Tarantino is looking for some east/west bubblegum punk noises for his next movie then he should give Nakamura a listen with Ue Wo Muite Aruko in particular coming across as if The New York Dolls were tottering around Tokyo in their stiletto and boa get up looking for a place to flop.
On the remainder of the album Nakamura conjures up flashes of Big Star on the opening song, Movin’ Train while the flashy Ninja Man reboots Johnny Rivers via Repo Man with some excellent reverb guitar hooks and Nakamura hits some mean and nasty blues licks on Hanging Fields. He closes the album with a tune that harks back to his previous release’s ambient sound as Mosquito Song‘s multitracked guitars float, shimmer and growl in a mesmerising fashion very reminiscent of the soundscapes conjured up by Gulch.