Time Leap Tuesday: The Irrepressible Spirit of THE SPUNKY

Those blessed enough to be at Nagoya’s Club Saru on New Years eve were able witness a priceless event: the momentary resurrection of the most charmingly upbeat pop-punk idol unit ever assembled, THE SPUNKY.

The reunion was supposed to include all three original members, but Rira was sidelined by a back injury proving that even idols are subject to the ravages of time. Still, it gave us the perfect opportunity to revive our periodic series of retrospectives on groups that have left an indelible impact on the genre and our memories.

THE SPUNKY called it quits back in April of 2017, leaving the world a less joyous place. Consisting of power vocalist Yuuhi and literal sisters Rira and Seira, the young unit combined pulsating Ramones-style back beats with surf punk energy and idol charm. The result was a carefree pop-punk sound that was buoyantly addictive. 

While THE SPUNKY always lived up to their whimsical name, the high spirited trio also plumbed some serious musical depth. Their music carried a distinguished rock n’ roll pedigree, including songs composed by Kataru Murata of legendary punk band NEW ROTE’KA, Hitomi Saionji of distinguished retro-rockers Kishidan, and percussion provided by Motokatsu Miyagami of Japan’s most influential turn-of-the century rock act, Mad Capsule Markets

THE SPUNKY are another among the long list of stellar groups that originated in Nagoya. They relocated to Tokyo while the members were still in high school and performed relentlessly, chalking up over 800 lives in their four years of existence. They also became known for their raucous outdoor gigs where they would perform under freeway overpasses in the center of a circle pits created by their fans. Unfortunately,  footage of the phenomenon has vanished along with the group’s official Twitter account.

It is also unfortunate that the group peaked before streaming on multiple platforms was embraced as standard practice, so THE SPUNKY have no footprint on Spotify or Apple Music. In fact, the group’s album, A, was only sold in CD format from Tower Records. They do still have an active Soundcloud page with several tracks available including the exceptional, “Emotional VOLTAGE”.

Which kinda brings us to the point of this occasional retrospective series where we try to ensure the remembrance of some of these units that left an indelible impact on the genre while their digital footprint shrinks over time. At least some of THE SPUNKY’s original tracks are living on via re-recordings by Nagoya CLEAR’S, a unit with their old agency.  Here’s their version of “Rock’n Roll, Idol and Me”:

While THE SPUNKY’s New Years Eve resurrection appears to be a one-off thing, it was great to see the unit back in form. Here’s to hoping that they do another reunion with the full trio.

In the meantime, congratulations to Seria who celebrated Coming of Age day yesterday!!

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