Shock Nagasaki -- Year of the Spy

Shock Nagasaki
Year of the Spy
Rebellion Records, 2006
TKO Records, 2006

Originally from the, uh, "legendary" punk rock incubator of Syracuse, NY, Shock Nagasaki wisely relocated to the friendlier (musically- speaking, at least) confines of Brooklyn and promptly made a name for themselves as one of the more overtly British street punk-inspired American bands. Indeed, Shock Nagasaki sound perfectly at home on the TKO Records roster, resembling as they do such labelmates as Slaughter and the Dogs and the Angelic Upstarts. Likewise, you hear echoes of Chelsea, the Business, and several dozen other second-wave British legends on this disk. The Clash? The Buzzcocks? You name 'em; someone will probably say that Shock Nagasaki sounds similar.

And they'll probably be right. Shock Nagasaki is an exceptionally polished outfit, capable of appropriating the anthemic singalongs of your favorite oi! band and the punkified glam-rock guitar riffs of the '77 sound to compose what amounts to a record that feels like it was released a solid quarter-century ago. In England.

Ultimately, if one is to find fault with the band, it can only be in the form of accusations of derivativeness. Still, even if Year of the Spy does sound like a collaboration between the Business and 999, it's still a damn good record.


Track 3. "Palisades and Renegades." Easily one of the album's most sing-alongable tracks, "Palisades and Renegades" ends with what may be one of the best bits of anthemic rock 'n' roll I've heard in years.

Track 5. "Classified Information." Another song, another immediately catchy chorus with just about as many hooks as a guitar lover could ever want.

Track 10. "Hit the Beach." This was my introduction to the band. Possibly the record's most radio-friendly track, "Hit the Beach" is a searingly sarcastic take on military recruitment. It's one hell of a rocker, too, complete with a killer lead guitar and seriously catchy choruses.


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