Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Gurus: Now

The Gurus

Now
Rainbow Quartz/Indiana

Not to be mistaken for The Hoodoo Gurus, The Gurus are a rock trio from Spain, although there are some good parallels in volume. Trios are a bit of an anomolie for the number of members in a band, but the really good ones stand out. The Jam obviously come to mind and more recently, the great punch of The Len Price 3. Then again, three people is all you need as long as somebody sings every now and then. On their third release Now, The Gurus pack a serious dose of British Invasion with a lot of dirty feedback that definitely makes a path to the garage but also has touches of modern powerpop. The songs have loud, buzz-saw powerchords but they're melodic enough to stand out, then there's just a hint of classic punk snarl to make it more fun. Not surprisingly, Yer Space Rocket jumps into the stratosphere with a great bass introduction from Sergio Bartel and a feedback driven guitar melody from Emili Ramirez that almost hints at ..< b>Drain You, but a lot less depressing even with the isolationist lyrics-"I don't feel safe, I think the place disturbs the way I feel." Other tracks like Second Scene stay grounded with with a more straightforward Byrds approach with a great guitar hook and some perfect vocal harmonies that almost reminds one of the only good thing about CSN. The Gurus manage to make music that is psych/powerpop but the guitar feedback gives the songs a great punch that distinguishes them on "Elizabeth Dreams" but then has some Robert Fripp guitar influence that's just waiting to get out, but only if Robert Fripp likes fuzzy feedback. Other tracks like In the Queue have an unmistakeable Ron Wood/Faces lowdown, dirty guitar feel that that jumps back upward.

The Gurus are hard to pin down. One thinks of simple songs that sound British Invasion inspired and are fun, harmonies that hint of The Hollies, some clever guitar that combines people and bands as diverse as The Byrds, The Stones, Robert Fripp, and even some early, louder Soft Boys and Marty Willson-Piper from some earlier works by The Church, but The Gurus still keep the rawk intact. Just when one thinks they understand them, an extraordinary soulful For the Things That You Show Me Know comes in with genius hints of Lindsey Buckingham. Make no mistake, The Gurus Now is not some stylistic experiment for a band trying to find their sound. Like a lot of rock 'n' roll from Europe, the genre lines aren't drawn in the sand, so maybe the appreciation for rock 'n' roll in general enables bands like The Gurus to transcend distinctions. Not a surprise. I've talked about that before. It's rock 'n' roll. Damn good, too, but The Gurus stand apart from a lot of other psych because theyvehas a louder, less polished approach that rocks harder.

One can't review Now without giving reverence to Why, Why, a short, fast song that echoes In The City by The Jam in both guitar punch and attitude, but has a chorus with the word "why" repeated 40 times! You can bet that once you hear it, you'll be singing that chorus at random times, annoying your friends until you play the song for them and get them hooked. The Gurus have created something completely new on Now. The hints at different styles are frequent and enough to get noticed but never enough to distract one from knowing it's not only a loud rock 'n' roll album, but a great one that's bursting with true originality.

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