Here & Now

Studio Album by released in 2006

Here & Now review

America is alive again

A tendency to regenerate old bands isn’t a new thing, veteran musicians are making such attempts with an enviable regularity, in 2006, for example The Who and Cat Stevens under the name of Yusuf Islam checked in. Each time releases get some pretty nice reviews; they get sales at the old fans expense and then, after a couple of listenings, take their place on a dusty shelf. Possibly the mistake of such reunions is in the fact that many musicians are trying to sound according to the modern musical tendencies or just pose the old material of a second-rate as the new one. Thus, it evokes a distressing conclusion: a band that wants to taste a piece of fame again must not simply try hard, but work hard to make up a selected, polished and what is the main thing here, new material. Today, a new album of the legendary soft-rock band America presents the nomination «reunion that makes sense». This is their first official release for the last decade where 12 brand new songs are presented together with the well known America’s hits recorded during the live show in 2005.

Besides America penned songs there are a few cover versions on the album

America never was a super star band even at the period when soft-rock was at the crest of its popularity, so making a new good album after years of silence is a hard task for them to cope with. A list of invited guest stars is pretty long so it makes no sense to cite it here; the main thing is that the band’s basis is still composed of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell. James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger were involved for production works. The album possesses all the characteristic features of America: beautiful harmonies, soft acoustic sound, catchy melodies and abundance of backing vocals. The subject of the first song Chasing The Rainbow is dedicated to that how we are always looking for something better and rainbow here stands as a metaphor for inaccessible dream. The song caries a smooth, gentle tunes with a slightly sad coloring. There are few cover versions on the album, for example Indian Summer is Maplewood’s song and the original version of Golden belongs to My Morning Jacket. Golden stands out as the best album’s track, Beckley and Bunnell made it so good that it may challenge any of America’s hits. Always Love sounds very interesting too, it associates with The Beatles mixed with American rock of 90’s. It is also absolutely necessary to mention One Chance, Ride On, Walk In The Woods. And of course live versions of such all time America’s hits as Sister Golden Hair, A Horse With No Name or Muskrat Love.

America kept it’s brand sounding

Despite that fact that sound producers are much younger then Beckley and Bunnell (Beckley is 54 now) it didn’t influence the general atmosphere of the album. Iha and Schlesinger were not trying to modernize the band; you can easily confuse this album with America’s earlier records. It may lack the energy that they had in 80’s but it doesn’t mean the record is bad. The music comes easy. Simple and incredibly beautiful melodies and harmonies are expressed through the songs that softly float in your head and after a few listennings stay fixed in your thoughts but this never annoys you as they go as easy as they came. Probably Here & Now is not the best America’s album but it logically proceeds with the bands discography and takes its worthy place in it.