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The Gurus

Closing Circles

(Rainbow Quartz; US: 5 Oct 2010; UK: Import)

Retro-rockers back for another round

The Gurus hail from Barcelona, but sure as heck sound like a product of 1960s San Francisco with sweet harmonies, jangly guitar and pop sensibility. The band sounds more like The Byrds than any band since, well, The Byrds. This is okay, as long as you love The Byrds so much that you want to hear more bands like them; but after four releases on the jangle-pop Rainbow Quartz label, it’s fair to ask whether the Gurus will ever develop an identity of its own.


It’s starting to happen on Closing Circles, but there’s still much retro-baggage to wade through. The opening trio of tunes goes over well-worn territory, but with the somber piano riff of “Be My Wife”, the record takes a turn into something moodier. This continues with a number of strong songs later in the set. “Caught By the Rain” is a hypnotic little number that fades away altogether too fast, while “Necromonicon” chugs along with a sinister crunch. “Where” substitutes wistfulness, acoustic strumming and a pretty melody for jagged chords, while “Lucifer Sam” incorporates a barbed-wire guitar line into an irresistible nugget. Retro-rock? Maybe, but pitch-perfect nonetheless.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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