Before I listened to the eponymous album Spirit of 74 by Spirit of 74 I assumed it was going to be drowning in Americana. How could an album with that title be anything other than then an amalgamation of influences from Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and countless others artists who defined the genre. My assumption was indeed correct. This is an album that drips with Americana rock from beginning to end.
The album starts with “Long Way Back” which is perhaps the most Americana infused. It contains the standard emotions of reflection and nostalgia in the spirit of “Jessie's Girl.” The production is also on point with the elements that have the textures, tones and colors that define the genre.
Up next is “Telluride” which goes further in the genre with earthy tones that come from the organ and guitar. There is just enough crunch. The energy is upbeat on “Ohio” and I enjoyed the slow drip on the ballad “Lift You Up” which is a highlight in the batch and contains some gospel in the music as well.
“Dark Night of the Soul,” “Mary Queen of Colombia'' and “Find You” were also well done songs. He ends with a rocker entitled “The Oncoming Storm.”
I thought the songwriting was really good throughout. The songs were well structured and there were some notable books throughout. On top of that the singing was top notch. It’s dynamic and his voice works well in a number of situations.
The songs were very straightforward to my ears and didn’t contain any surprises, good or bad. I felt like the songs stuck to 101 type standards that have been laid down by legends such as Tom Petty and others from around that time period. The songs never go past that but instead sort of tip their hat to the aesthetics already established. Suffice it to say I think purists of the genre will appreciate this most. Recommended.
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