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CD REVIEW

Kinoco Hotel “Marianne No Yuutsu”

by Shawn Despres

With their first album proper, “Marianne No Yuutsu,” Tokyo’s Kinoco Hotel join the continuously growing legion of entertaining Japanese revivalist pop acts. Showcasing a similar fashion sense as Sendai throwback band The Captains, the attractive all-gal 1960s Group Sounds-inspired quartet sport matching short “Sgt. Pepper”-esque military style dresses and knee high boots.

While their outfits may be the initial drawing point for some, the ladies’ solid debut is sure to keep local listeners tuned in. “Marianne No Yuutsu” starts off mellow with nature sounds as the opening notes of the psych-tinged, slow burner “Shizukana Mori de” lazily float out of the speakers. “Makkana Jelly” picks up the pace with a fantastic dose of stripped down, vintage rock that is damn near impossible not to bop along to. Lead single “Moetsukitai no” and the heavy, layered “Atashi no Sniper” both follow an equally infectious path while “Kaerazaru Umi” briefly slows things down with some lava lamp and incense- worthy soul.

“Neon no Namida” is easily the disc’s crowning moment. Driven by vocalist Marianne Shinonome’s organ early on, halfway through the 2 1/2-minute cut guitarist Isabel Keme Kamogawa steals the spotlight resulting in an awesome fuzzed-out freak-out as all the members whoop it up in the background.

Word has it Kinoco Hotel are already fielding offers for some of the summer’s higher profile outings. With undeniable musical chops and a hip image it would be very surprising not to see a definite spike in the group’s popularity before yearend.

Kinoco Hotel perform Feb. 14 at Club Que in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.