Archaic Smile

In This Night, The Red Guitar Whispers...

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This brief, engaging release finds the Japanese three-piece living up to the "viva! pop" motto at the bottom of the sleeve. Unassuming and sweet, very much in a British guitar pop line of descent -- having a song named "The Boy Wounded in His Side" inevitably calls the Smiths to mind -- spiked with a fair amount of breezy Bacharach/David and easy listening, In This Night makes a gentle treat. The three members split songwriting and performing duties; Kumiko Kikuchi concentrates on keyboards, while Yuichi Abe and Osamu Sakai handle drum programming, guitars, and just about everything else. "Square Love" practically glows with warmth and life, while "The Under Water Life for a Rainy Day" takes a more straightforward strum-along and makes it sparkle (check out the vocal trade-offs). To top it all off, it swings hundreds of times more entertainingly than Austin Powers ever could.

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