So easy

Man, is it easy to hate Quruli.

How can one band be blessed with so much good songwriting? How can one band make songwriting seem so effortless?

Even a project as incidental as the soundtrack to the film Joze to Tora to Sakanatachi has the band’s distinct stamp of quality.

The 26-minute album contains mostly short, instrumental music. In fact, it’s a pretty even distribution of material: two tracks with some simple background music, four variations on two main themes, one track with a good portion of film dialogue and two new songs.

And in those compact confines, Joze to Tora to Sakanatachi makes for one of the band’s tightest albums, despite its brisk length.

It’s a sign of a good soundtrack when even the throwaway material sounds pretty good. “Ubaguruma” and “Drive” both show the more Americana influences that unconsciously inform the Quruli’s indie rock sound.

The two new songs, “Ameiro no Heya” and “Highway”, are catchier than anything on the band’s last single, “Way to Go”. “Highway”, in particular, follows in the footsteps of “Bara no Hana”.

“Joze no Theme”, which appears in two forms, is perfectly memorable, and ex-Number Girl Ahito Inazawa’s dub drumming on the opening track demonstrates how subtle a player he can be.

The crowning achievement of this album, however, is the melody arranged in two different forms on “Wakare” and “Tetsu to Joze”. The wide, open theme sounds equally beautiful when rendered in drawn-out notes by a string quartet (“Wakare”) or in short, sustained chords by a piano (“Tetsu to Joze”).

It’s enough to make a person want to hear more.

Joze to Tora to Sakanatachi may not be a full-length follow-up to the band’s sonically daring The World Is Mine, but it extends the aural pallette Quruli is willing to explore. It also combines a lot of the hook-filled songcraft at time missing from its predecessor.

Still, Quruli manage to make a form as forgettable as film music incredibly memorable, if not tuneful.

Is there nothing this band can’t do?