Shock Nagasaki - Year of the Spy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Shock Nagasaki

Year of the Spy (2006)


Punk rock is alive and well in the hearts, minds, and instruments of Shock Nagasaki. Simplicity is the name of their rousing and infectious game, and when delivered with just the amount of grit and punch, you are left with the half-hour of goodness that is Year of the Spy.

So many existing punk bands feel the need to dress up or Pro Tool their songs to death, rendering them hollow shells of songs that once were -- but not Shock Nagasaki. They have the ability and they have the attitude to make the barest of musical bones feel as alive and as relevant as the bands who founded the genre in the first place.

"1968" sets the tone and sets the bar, a very high one, with a minute of riffing and snotty punk vocals that would put a bright smile on the face of Joey Ramone. Able to immediately do a lot with a little, the band's vocalist uses the strong gang vocal accompaniment to soar over the cutting distortion that pushes the song along. Not a quartet willing to let that momentum go by the wayside, the follow "1968" up with the positively anthemic "I Get High on Low Society." Energetic salvos of "I been down, I been dirty, dedicated to the underground / Got better things to do, than kiss corporate ass" rise above the pounding snare and thick bass resonating through the air.

The lyrical ideas certainly aren't treading new ground, but in an age where conviction is so often an afterthought, that's hardly anything to worry about. The fact of the matter is, no matter the words or the message, the way they're put across is raw, fun, and energetic. Luckily, the band doesn't slow a bit over the course of the record's 12 songs, sounding just as up tempo in the closer that bears the bands name as the one that started it all off.

No diversity? No problem.