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Friday, Dec. 2, 2005


Quruli: "Nikki"

Quruli? An indie band? It's just not true. While at their creative peak they made mind-blowing J-pop (2002's "The World Is Mine"), at their worst, they are MOR J-popsters with bad hair.

Opening track "Bus To Finsbury" flatters to deceive with purposeful-sounding mod guitars, but it soon loses direction. Likewise "Baby I Love You" aspires to be a harmony-laden Teenage Fanclub-style pop anthem, but fails to reach the same spine-tingling sense of Byrdsian wonderment. It's all downhill from there.

Until track 7, that is, when things perk up with "O-matsuri Wasshoi," which at least has some life to it, despite giving further proof to the old adage that no song is ever improved by the addition of cowbell, while any song is improved by its removal. "Akai Densha" is the first properly worthy track, with subtly funky percussion providing momentum and quietly summoning the specter of "World's End Supernova" (Quruli's last genuinely good single). And while "Ring Ring Ring" might be what your dad thinks a rock 'n' roll band sounds like, the second half of the album nevertheless manages to pull some sense of limited success out of the bag with the closing Beach Boys/Beatles-ish "(It's Only) R'n R Workshop."

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