Friday, 15 August 2008

Part Twos for the Gurus

We left the Gurus a week ago having just released their first album. We rejoin the story with a look at their discography. At first it would appear that the band have quite a confusing discography, three record labels: Universal, Bip Bip Records (Barcelona) and Rainbow Quartz (USA). But after many hours research, we chipped away at the fat, dumping all the spurious Gurus, record labels, and seemingly over active thyroids in the mid 2000's (thankyou AMG) to reveal a steady drip of maturing releases over the last decade.

The 1998 debut was followed two years later with looser 'Maqueta'. This has more than a whiff of rarity about it. It's Gurus' second all Spanish speaking album and appears to have received next to no promotion by the record company (Bip Bip) or the band themselves. It's well worth tracking down if you can find it, as it does pay dividends, However, it seems that a change of heart must have been discovered sometime before the recording of the next album, as the band open up to the language of Rock N Roll: English and fired 'All the Children Sing' on the world in 2002 which is somewhat of a breath of fresh air.

This reinvention of band was finalized when sometime in 2003, they were signed by Powerpop supremos Rainbow Quartz and in 2004 put out a repackaged version of the album and retitled it 'The Gurus' signifying a rebirth.

The Gurus in English makes the Beatles/Anglo Psyche comparisions even stronger. The language shift is a good move as can be seen from opening track Good Morning through the captivating second 'Fly So High' to the closing 'Gerdundula'. This last track all the more interesting for being a reworking of Status Quo's song from their career changing (and best ever) 1971 album 'Dog of Two Head'. Despite the title, I've always thought this to be a most English song with its traditional 'jig' leanings. The Gurus turn it on its head and create some kind of weird, swimming, psyche mash-up making it almost unrecognisable from the original.

Their second release on Rainbow Quartz in 2006 'The Swing of Things' consolidates the promise shown on the self-named album. There seems to be a better feel for both the language and the idiom.

Track 2 'Tears On The Wardrobe' features hooks, harmonies and a melody I can't imagine appearing at any time before this 2006 album. I've only just got hold of 'The Swing of Things' so it's not that familiar, but I'm looking forward to living with it over the next few months. Give opener great 'Flats & Jobs' an airing with this video here.

Which brings us up to date. For me, the new album 'Now' is the culmination of the band's growth since their move to Rainbow Quartz. On 'Now' the anglophilia, the Beatles brush and pulstating psychedelia come together in a sound which gives the guys more identity. They stop sounding like all their influences, and end up sounding like the Gurus. Stand-outs include: Second Scene, I Don't Know How Crazy I Am, Why Why, In The Queue and Jokes. Another 'Dog of Two Head' Status Quo cover (oh alright The Doors, then) completes the album (except for the post finale 'Slowdance'). Like with Gerdundula, the Gurus very much make the cover their own.

This song and few of the other originals make the band much more garagey and loose and making them really exciting to watch live as they (and we) totally lose ourselves in the music. It's quite an experience which we both heartily recommend.

Album Discography (Researched by Debra47 & MrQwerty)
1998 En La Oscuridad
2000 Maqueta
2002 All the Children Sing By
2004 The Gurus [Big Sea] [Silver Rain]
2006 The Swing of Things [Flats & Jobs] [Tears on The Wardrobe]
2008 Now [Yer Space Rocket] [Second Scene]

The Gurus' label Rainbow Quartz has generously provided two tracks each from their last three albums for you to download and enjoy. These pretty representative tracks should give you a good idea whether you're gonna be diggin' these guys or not. We are pretty confident, having come this far - you will!

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