In the west, electronica artists and rock musicians have very little common ground. It’s just not cool to put a heavy power chord in the same mix as a techno beat.
But in Japan, a slew of bands are blurring the lines between guitar-driven rock and dance-floor beats. Dr.StrangeLove, Supercar, Boom Boom Satellites — these bands can rock out but they can also layer some mean atmospheric samples.
One of the most successful bands to do so is Quruli (spelled in katakana as Kururi.)
The band’s third album, Team Rock, takes listeners on a roller coaster of divergent styles, but at its core, it marries guitars with synthesizers with remarkable ease.
All of these bands recognize that gear alone won’t make a memorable listening experience — they need songs. And Quruli writes some pretty mean songs.
On “Wandervogel,” a four-on-the-floor beat drives the track’s sing-song melody. “The World Without Love” is a straight-ahead rock song without the electronica acrouments, but it’s followed by the decidedly disco “C’mon C’mon,” complete with robotic vocals and growly, bottom-heavy bass.
“The Curry Song” takes a moment to channel John Lennon’s “Imagine” with a furtive piano pulse, while “Eternity” delivers a live band playing a typically hypnotic dance tune.
And just to remind listeners that, yes, you are indeed listening to a rock band, Quruli tears into the two-minute “Train Rock Festival.” And let’s not forget the dischordant jazzy opening title track, and the equally quirky Southern rock closer — banjos and gospel bass included — of “River.”
As of this writing, Team Rock is comfortably nudged in the Top 20 of Japan’s Oricon charts and deservedly so. Not only does Quruli serve as justice-of-the-peace in a usually rocky sonic marriage, the band provides 11 extremely catchy songs to boot.