Nicotine Desperado

Nicotine is a fast and furious punk (and occasionally ska) group out of Chiba, Japan. They sing in English, which more often than not works, but their music, which borrows heavily from the Southern California school of punk, is fairly accomplished, which is a relief. Very pop and catchy, but offering the occasional interesting chord change and progression. This being their seventh release, the band is not lacking in experience, and demonstrates some musical maturity without losing their original goofiness. Without pushing any boundaries, content wise, or breaking any new musical ground, Nicotine would sit well with any number of contemporary punk bands, with a couple of choice tracks standing above the rest. (Although their version of Bryan Adams' "Kids Wanna Rock" doesn't happen to be one of them.) There is a light-hearted feeling throughout but also delivers a raw intensity that leaves me thinking they probably kick some Gaijin ass live! (Union)