Denki Groove


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UFO, the third album by Japanese electronic group Denki Groove, kicks off with "B.B.E. (Bull Beam Express)," a high energy barrage of synths and samples, which positively bleeds the influence of early-'90s European techno. While it would be unfair to judge a group as eclectic as Denki Groove on the basis of just one track, it does foreshadow at least some of what's to come in that UFO is very much an album of its time. With its laid-back drum shuffle and spacy vocals, "All Star Family vs. Family Snake Battle" sounds like any one of a number of baggy bands like the Farm or the Soup Dragons that were just going out of fashion in the U.K. at about the same time; however, Denki Groove manage to pull themselves back from the brink of embarrassment with their trademark quirky sense of humor and knack for catchy, if occasionally irritating, pop hooks. There's a sense of fun that pervades UFO, but the production is rooted in the cliches of early-'90s techno, and as a result, the album has dated very badly, sounding hopelessly cheap and flat where later releases by the band would incorporate richer sonic textures and a more inventive use of samples.

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