Much has been made of the strong ties Tokyo’s Moools have forged with U.S. indie imprint K Records. And while the relationship has helped the underground rock trio tour overseas and earn slots supporting the seminal label’s visiting bands and other acclaimed U.S. acts such as Modest Mouse and recently Quasi, at times it seems that who they know almost overshadows what they can do.
The fact is Moools have been turning out an excellent, diverse array of tunes since their inception in 1997. Their fifth long-player, the dozen-song strong “Weather Sketch Modified,” is no different. The lush folk ballad “Hana Kuu Inu” starts things off in a Dylan-esque fashion. The pace picks up with the fantastic “Iru Iranai,” a soaring guitar-heavy rocker whose impact is heightened with the addition of strings part-way through. A definite early highlight, the potential standout status of “Iru Iranai” is challenged by the likes of the really cool alt-country and jazz hybrid “Konaiyo,” the nearly out-of-tune, experimental postpunk stylings of “Kagami ga Utusanai,” and the catchy, melodic punk number “CRC.”
The epic nature of the 9-minute plus “Kage mo Katachi,” a rollicking, 1970s jam-band-influenced cut that’s accented with keys and banjo and an anthemic sing-a-long chorus, would have been a logical disc-closer for many. Instead, Moools tack on one last track, “Sarachi ga Hoeteiru.” Comprised of acoustic guitar, hand drums, and organ, the lo-fi pop song has a playful feel and ends the affair on a more laid back note.