The Stalin

Picture of The Stalin

Stop Jap

The Stalin - Stop Jap ©1982 Climax/Tokuma
1. Romanchisuto (Romanticist)
2. Stop Jap
3. Gokuraku Tonbo (Dragonfly In Heaven)
4. Tamanegi Batake (Onion Field)
5. Soseji No Medama (Eyeballs Of Sausage)
6. Gesuido No Petenshi (Swindler In The Sewer)
7. Arerugii A (Allergy A)
8. Yokujou (Lust)
9. Money
10. Stop Girl
11. Bakuretsu Heddo (Burst Head)
12. Miser
13. Makeinu (Loser)
14. Arerugii B (Allergy B)
15. Warushawa No Gensou (Fantasy In Warsaw)

While nations such as the United Kingdom or the United States had very notable punk scenes whose legend and lore endure to this day, Japan's noteriety has been less prominent over the years. Some people, such as myself, tend to associate Japan with experimental noise artists such as Merzbow, or think Shonen Knife was pretty the sum and total of Japan's offerings to the world. However, back in the early 80s, one of the more notable punk bands was an outfit called The Stalin, whose mere name was an affront of Japanese society. Led by Michiro Endo, The Stalin offered up a brew of Ramones/Sex Pistol punk rock complete with a live show that was guaranteed to upset straight laced Japanese parents. Endo was a fan of displaying his privates while singing his odes, which we all know is definitely very punk rock.

Stop Jap is considered one of the band's finer albums, at least according to the individual who recommended it to me. There's little denying the band's influences: the aforementioned Ramones and Sex Pistols. The Stalin hadn't incorporated some of the hardcore tendencies that were all the rage in the United States circa 1982, sticking more to the earlier punk rock sounds. Stop Jap definitely sounds like a product of their era, although a few of the songs do stand out ("Miser" and "Makeinu (Loser)", for instance, make a great back to back tandem of rockin' tunes.) At the time of the album's release, The Stalin did seem to be known more for their live antics than anything else. While researching the band, most accounts usually came back to Endo's stage presence and shock tactics.

The Stalin apparently had a far reaching influence on other Japanese punk bands, although their noteriety never did cross the pond. To a degree, I get the impression that The Stalin was one of those bands best experienced at the time and in the moment. Their recorded output, taken solely on its own merits, is decent, but doesn't command the early punk respect of the Minutemen, Black Flag or some of their other contemporaries.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2009

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