America’s Back Pages, nothing but the familiar.
America’s Back Pages album is exactly what you expect from a band formed in the 70s. The ‘nice guy’ sound that the band enjoyed in their heydays of summers passed resonates through the tracks of Back Pages, and like their long-lived fan-base, the songs draw on experience and time.
The tracks are mellow and polished. But be warned, there is absolutely no spunk, so upbeat tempo, no happy ending. The squeaky clean production takes away from the fun in listening to a band that has perfected their sound through hard won shows and years of industry experience.
But, it creates an atmosphere that is inviting and comfortable if a bit too refined.
The album feels like a lake on a calm fall night, swushing ‘a little’ back and forth, gently lulling your senses. The tracks blend seamlessly, and the selection speaks to the travelled soul. The album is a collection of covers. Classic songs like Bob Dylan’s My Back Pages and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock grace the album, and mould comfortably to America’s sound.
The audience for whom Back Pages was made for will be pleased, but the band’s mellow easy-listening vibe will not speak to a younger audience, or at least not off the cuff, maybe it will grow on them as the years fly by. In that time, I hope America will release an album chock-full of original stories, ones that tell the tale of a band that has lived through it all, and yet has life left in them to sing about the dog days of summers gone.
In the meantime, pick-up Back Pages and play it at a chilled-back gathering of friends over a crackling summer fire, don’t forget the wine.