THE GURUS - Now

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Promo. "4 1/2 stars. Spanish '60s obsessives the Gurus are still living in the past, but judging from the sound of their fifth album, Now, it's entirely possible the band might make it into the '70s yet. Psychedelia and garage rock are still two of the hallmarks of the Gurus' sound, but Now adds a healthy portion of simple hard rock to the mix that wasn't there before, and the thick power chords that fuel "In the Queue," "Jokes," "Parasites," and their cover of the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" suggest that Blue Cheer or the MC5 may have entered their collective consciousness. Longtime Gurus fans need not fret -- the band's taste inWho albums is still defined by My Generation rather than Live at Leeds judging from "He Was a Man," classic psychedelic sounds inform the opener "Yer Space Rocket," and the revved-up folk-rock of "Second Scene" is one of Now's most gloriously tuneful moments. But if the hard rock influences don't define this album, they have an undeniable impact on the whole, and the production and engineering sounds sharper and more up to date than the purposefully retro approach of the Gurus' earlier efforts. Perhaps the Gurus are following the lead of obvious influence the Pretty Things in keeping things up to date, even if they're doing so at a remove of three decades; whatever prompted Now's tougher sound, it brings a welcome new side to their music, giving it a welcome punch all around." -AMG