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1987's Go, Hiroshima's third album for Epic's contemporary jazz imprint, holds no surprises for anyone who has ever heard anything by this cross-cultural jazz fusion band. As always, the songs are based on the interplay of Dan Kuramoto's reeds and synthesizers and wife June Kuramoto's koto. By the time of this, their fifth album total (the title is a pun, "go" meaning "five" in Japanese), the duo and their sidemen (on drums, bass, and extra electronic keyboards, as if there weren't already more than enough) have perfected their occasionally intriguing but always non-threatening blend of pan-Asian folk tunes and the smoothest of smooth jazz. The worst offender here is singer Barbara Long, who imparts all of her vocals with the emotional attachment of someone making an appointment with her hairdresser; the soppy closing track "Why Can't I Love You" is her personal nadir. When Long shuts up, as on the sprightly "Hawaiian Electric" and the extended instrumental passages throughout the rest of the album, the band is actually not uninteresting in the way they blend Eastern and Western music. In a less slickly pristine surrounding where some more cross-cultural friction could occur, Hiroshima could be a truly fascinating band. For too much of Go, they're willing to settle for being the background music at the hippest local Asian fusion restaurant.

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