Porno Graffitti

Porno Graffitti

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Even by the standards of Japanese music with its '80s rock worship, Porno Graffitti sound special, as they're not content with just taking cues from another time period, but play actual retro rock. Their name, borrowed from an Extreme album, gives away as much, and indeed their eponymous record sounds like a trip down a memory lane of Lenny Kravitz-like proportions, although with a different destination, as the bandmembers (obviously) have their sights on Extreme, Queen, and Bon Jovi. They also sometimes mimic their Japanese contemporaries who are also influenced by the '80s, as in "Walker," which sounds like Remioromen (although with a solo break out of the Dire Straits songbook and a Mellotron to boot). Porno Graffitti even manage to sound genuinely diverse, offering a wide range of songs while thankfully keeping clear of glam rock, sappy power ballads, and plastic pop ("My 80's" notwithstanding, as this obviously qualifies for a fun exception). But the band still fails to avoid the pitfall of so many musicians playing retro music -- caring about sound, not songs. The stylistic diversity of the album ensures that almost any listener will find a track to his or her liking, but there's a clear lack of objectively strong songs (barring the inspired menacing stomper "Tettsui"), and on the whole the reason for this album's existence grows weaker as the '80s recede in time, except for those occasions when there's a need to sublimate nostalgia.

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