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GURUS (Buy CDs by this artist)
All the Children Sing By ... (Sp. Bip Bip) 2004
The Gurus (Rainbow Quartz) 2004
The Swing of Things (Rainbow Quartz) 2006

From the surging melodic attack of "Good Morning" to the Revolver-informed "Big Sea" to the modernized merseybeat of "Feelin' Afraid" to the beautiful '60s-styled "Falling I'm Falling," All the Children Sing By... is a surprising power pop delight that could, if not for the clean, modern sound, easily masquerade as a lost Anglo-American Nuggets relic. In fact, the Gurus are an English-singing trio from Barcelona, Spain. Only the cover of Status Quo's "Gerdundula" breaks the eight-song mini-album's upbeat stylistic consistency, a blend of Josep Pons' deft and diverse drumming, Sergio Bartel's bass and harmonies and Emili Ramírez's guitar and vocals (shades of both John Lennon and Gerry Rafferty). Both frontmen also play piano.

The Gurus repackages all but one track from All the Children Sing By... and doubles the fun with a pile of new tracks, including the droney "Kamala Part 2," the gently wistful "My Beautiful Home," "Silver Rain" and "Sleeping Girl." The Gurus delve lightly into overt psychedelic pop without sounding dated on the instrumental "Kamala Part 1." All told, a wonderful vintage pop album.

The intro to "Flats and Jobs," redolent as it is of "Eight Miles High," ups the ante on The Swing of Things, which is more ambitious, more accomplished and more diverse. "Soup," which pays homage to (and updates) the Kinks, showcases Bartel's consistently inventive bass playing. The lush title track is a psychedelic masterpiece, with nods to the Beatles, the Move and Oasis. "This Poor Boy" is a beautifully rendered ballad. On the downside, a pair of very brief instrumentals, "Lito" and Lito II," are pointless; "Load in Total Darkness," with backward vocals and guitars, is a throwaway cliché exercise. "Water Lily" has some nice guitar passages, but it's a bit boring. The album ends with a ripping garage rendition of the Kinks' "I Need You" that is effective but incongruous.

[Martin Sharp/Ira Robbins]