aec.wark1757301.2 2/13/09 New

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Review Text Superfly is marketed as a '60s revival rock band -- the promo shoots leave no doubt about it, at any rate. And, indeed, the band's debut album starts off as if it's still possible to get a slot at Woodstock, or at least hope for it to become regular. The first couple of songs boast grand bluesy T. Rex riffs and an impressive vocal performance by Ochi Shiho -- she's no natural-born prodigy like Janis Joplin, and Japanese isn't the native language of this kind of music, but when she's on, she can shout down the guitars and convey the emotion exactly like she's supposed to. It's such a very close replica of late-'60s rock -- barring the anachronistically stellar production -- that it's hard not to wonder why make it in 2008? And how can it score number one on the charts. But the subtle changes in the songwriting approach give the answer to that. The later songs on the album are closer to the Mamas & the Papas than the Doors, and the record goes on to prove that the J-pop guitar of Shimokawa Mikuni, Remioromen, and the many similar artists can be traced right back to the '60s. The bulk of this album is much closer to Onitsuka Chihiro than a Creedence Clearwater Revival understudy, although the old-school influence makes constant reappearances, claiming a song here, a chorus and a melody line there. When it's properly integrated into the songs it provides especially neat results, but, in the end, it's a bluesy J-pop album, not the other way around -- regardless of the promo shoots. ~ Alexey Eremenko

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