Rock hybrid is child's play

After whetting the appetite of fans with the single Everything (It's You), Mr Children have unveiled their highly anticipated seventh album.

Titled Bolero, this release from the Japanese quartet further highlights their ability to produce a fascinating hybrid of musical styles.

The band are bassist Keisuke Nakagawa, guitarist Kenichi Tahara, vocalist Kazutoshi Sakurai and drummer Hideya Suzuki.

Bolero has the unmistakable Mr Children sound yet is a further refinement of the cauldron of mainstream, alternative and hardcore rock that constituted their 1996 smash collection, Deep Ocean, which has clocked almost three million in Japanese sales.

Their sound is powerful yet richly melodic with some distinct pub-feel inflections when it comes to atmospherics.

Brandnew My Lover and Alive sound like classic Mr Children tracks after just a few listens.

'It is very much a rock'n'roll record but at the same time we gave up 1970s analogue sound effects,' said Nakagawa.

'Creatively, we always follow our noses,' he said. 'We intended to make a modern-sounding record at the outset.' Nakagawa pointed to the stylistic diversity on Bolero. 'The meaning of 'bolero' is Spanish dance which reflects the musical career of the band - from insipidity to resplendence,' he said. 'But most of the songs are more obviously rock-orientated.' There's little doubt Bolero ranks alongside Atomic Heart and Deep Ocean. It contains some of their strongest material and includes the Top 10 hits Tomorrow Never Knows (remix), Everybody Goes, and es and Theme of es.

The first single lifted, Everything (It's You), showcases the central approach of Bolero - hard, circular guitar sounds, a rhythmic groove and powerful atmospherics.

Brandnew My Lover is classic 'big-screen' Mr Children, underpinned by explosive guitar. Then there's the intense, cinematic rocker Tell You Under Sun Umbrella and Alive, built around a tumbling beat.

Meanwhile, band leader Kazutoshi Sakurai quashed rumours of a split: 'We have just announced that we will take a short vacation.'