Nominally a part of the visual kei scene, the Japanese quartet Kra actually inhabit a lighter part of the country's musical spectrum, combining punk-tinged power pop à la blink-182 with a touch of light jazz and a general positive attitude. The band was created in 2001 by a bunch of musical newbies who included vocalist/guitarist Keiyuu, guitarist Mai, bassist Yura, and drummer Yasuno. A year of playing at small clubs and the issuance of two demos (Hard Lolita and Brise, both 2002) got them signed to popular indie label PS Company, which also hosted Miyavi, Kagrra, Alice Nine, and Gazette -- a fact that Kra celebrated in their side project 36481?, which covered songs by their labelmates (36481? released their sole maxi-single, Fiction, in 2004). Securing the contract, the band wasted no studio time, debuting with the mini-album Boku To No Himitsu in 2002 and over the course of 2003 releasing four EPs (Circus Shounen, Kimi Ni Shitsumon!, Brahman, and Artman). Kra also participated in the famed Beauti-Fool's Fest in 2003 (organized by Fool's Mate magazine), where they shared the stage with D'Espairs Ray, Mucc, and Ao of Cali Gari. The next two years were spent touring Japan, and in 2005 the band also released two more EPs -- Acid Märchen and Shiki Tabi No Samposha. In 2006 Kra followed other PS Company artists -- Miyavi and Kagrra -- and graduated to a contract with a major label, signing with King Records. Their first major release was the single Heart Balance (2006), followed by the debut studio album Dhar.ma (2007). The mini-album Creatures was released in 2007, and second album Escape followed in 2008, both releases getting European distribution via CLJ Records. A third LP, Life -- Today Is a Very Good Day to Die was scheduled for release in February 2009.
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