More more more

When I listen to Garnet Crow, I’m always left with the sense of wanting more.

Not more because the band’s music leaves me hungry, but more because there’s seems to be something missing.

Certainly Nakamura Yuri’s resonant voice is pleasing to hear for 45 minutes straight. And certainly that voice is usually delivering something tuneful and subtly crafted.

But musically, Garnet Crow misses a lot of opportunities.

The band’s third album, Crystallize ~Kimi to Iu Hikari~, doesn’t feel as rushed as its previous release, even though both share the unfortunate habit of stashing all the singles at the beginning of the track listing.

Still, the remaining tracks stand on their own. “Crystal Goods” has a whimisical feel. The waltz meter of “Marionette Fantasia” evokes all the right poignant cues. Nothing really feels like filler.

And yet …

Garnet Crow doesn’t seem comfortable exaggerating. The band’s music tends to reach climaxes that aren’t terribly climactic, or follow contours that don’t have much shape.

And the band’s melodies all possess an inherent drama its arrangements don’t employ.

That beautiful high note Nakamura hits at the end of the opening track “Kyoo no Kimi to Ashita wo Matsu” could have benefited from a steeper curve.

The deep, chugging guitars on “Nogare no Machi” could afford to be much harder. The song’s dark nature would definitely accomodate it.

If “Spiral” were a Do As Infinity song, it would be a lot louder. And if “Only Stay” were an Utada Hikaru song, it would end up sounding a lot like “Uso no Mitai Naroo”.

Maybe Garnet Crow needs a different set of studio equipment. Maybe the band needs a producer other than itself.

Because left to its own devices, Garnet Crow don’t squeeze out nearly as much as it could out of its songs.

Which is something of pity because Garnet Crow’s pop writing isn’t all that bad. In fact, it isn’t all that pandering.

But there is an unshakeable homogeniety that indicates the band doesn’t want to paint outside the lines too much.

Creative growth is something not to be feared. Where have we heard that before?