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Non-Prog CD Reviews

America

Homecoming (Hybrid Multichannel SACD)

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always loved America. I got to see them live once, and they were great. The band’s sound is classic. It’s soft rock mostly, but it’s definitely rock. There is a fairly wide range here. This is a new release in a series of high-fidelity, limited edition, numbered discs. With that in mind, this sounds great. It’s an excellent album in an excellent package. You really can’t go wrong. I should mention that I’ve reviewed some of these songs previously on a compilation set. Those song reviews are used or adapted for use here for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ventura Highway

A song that definitely qualifies as a big hit for America, it’s a fine example of how they were able to take a basic concept, a mellow rock tune, and create something special and unique with it. The vocal arrangement is especially effective.

To Each His Own
A much mellower piece, in some ways this makes me think of Bread, but in other ways I’m somehow reminded of the Bee Gees. It’s pretty and quite effective, despite the mellower textures.           
Don't Cross the River
There’s a bit of a country tinge to this piece, but comparisons to Crosby Stills and Nash are also valid.
Moon Song
Combining folk with rock, the arrangement to this is complex and contains a lot of layers. It’s perhaps not the kind of song that jumps out as “standout,” but it really is. It’s just quite classy.
Only In Your Heart
This mellow rocker seems to pale in comparison to some of the music on this set, but that has more to do with the strength of the other tunes than any weakness in this one. There is a cool backwards tracked instrumental section as a reprise.
Till The Sun Comes Up Again

Here’s another mellower, soft rock piece. It’s cool.

Cornwall Blank
The arrangement on this is also quite involved and layered. This is classic America, even if it wasn’t a big hit. I love this song. It’s one of my favorites here, really.
Head And Heart
This seems to hover between mellower music and more rocking. It’s got a great vocal arrangement and the organ adds a lot to the arrangement, too. This isn’t one of my favorites here, though.
California Revisited
Here is a cool rocker. It’s another that’s among the stronger tunes on display here.
Saturn Nights
Mellow and lush with multiple layers of vocals, this is really one of the best songs here. It has a definite growing element to it. It’s pretty and deceptively complex. Some keyboards later even bring in a bit of progressive rock near the end.
 
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