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Thursday, July 7, 2011
Special to The Japan Times
Now three albums deep into their career, indie-poppers andymori still lean on youthful energy to carry their music instead of songwriting smarts. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as "Kakumei" ("Revolution") features a handful of energetic pop numbers that know how to leave an impression without lingering around in your head too long. Yet the trio's best moments on this release take up less than half of "Kakumei's" already anemic 29-minute runtime, the rest of which is filled up by ho-hum attempts at J-rock and meandering slow numbers.
"Kakumei" leads off strong with the title track, a breathless number that seems ready to stumble over itself any second, but manages to keep its Strokes-ish catchiness upright for all of its 1:38-minute playtime. Most of the highlights on andymori's third release clock in under two minutes, like the barely-there rush of "Sūpāman ni Naritai" ("I Wanna be Superman") or the swaggering "Body Language" which doesn't even have time for actual words in the chorus, just a string of "ehs." Save for the almost-four-minute-long "Paradise," andymori work best here in bursts. A really great EP exists somewhere within "Kakumei."
This is an album though, meaning andymori need a lot of drawn-out tracks to fill the necessary running time. For the most part, they produce safe rock that any group clogging up the J-rock charts could have made. The group really stumbles when they go long and slow, like on the sleepy "Weapons of Mass Destruction," which goes on for four minutes and 40 languid seconds. andymori can do quick and catchy pop, but if they want to make a solid long player in the future, they'll need to devote some of that energy into learning how to make a great song that outlasts the time it takes to heat up your leftovers.
andymori play Club Quattro in Shibuya, Tokyo on July 7 (6 p.m.; ¥3,500;  3466-1100); Aomori Rock Festival on July 17 at Tsugaru Earth Village in Aomori Prefecture (¥6,800;  26-2855); Setstock in Shobara, Hiroshima Prefecture, on July 23 (prices vary;  998-900); and Summer Sonic at Makuhari Messe in Chiba on Aug. 13 (prices vary;  993-030). For more information, visit www.andymori.com.