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Spirit - Farther Along CD (album) cover

FARTHER ALONG

Spirit

 

Proto-Prog

2.69 | 17 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars From the West Coast to Philadelphia via Detroit

"Farther along", the third of the new Spirit albums recorded for Mercury, saw former band members Mark Andes and John Locke returning to the fold with Mark's brother Matt Andes also joining the line up. Completing the original line up, Jay Ferguson played with the band on a few dates of the subsequent tour, but does he not appear on the album. Randy California subsequently cited this album as one of his favourites.

The title track, which opens the album, is a shuffling Simon and Garfunkel like soft harmony song. The base riff was reportedly inspired by traditional African rhythms but the endearing melody and smooth vocal style mean that the mood is primarily west coast pop. "Atomic boogie" livens things up considerably, the funky beat being emphasised by some Chicago like brass and decidedly Motown like singing. This more Earth Wind and Fire than Spirit!

Things return to normality for the oddly named "World eat world dog" (presumably as opposed to "Dog eat dog world") another light acoustic pop number. The song is sandwiched between two of the most un-Spirit like songs on any of their albums. "Stoney night" reprises the brass backing, the vocals here being more Philadelphia than Motown. We can perhaps forgive the band for the instrumental "Pineapple" given Randy's Hawaiian leanings, but the song is a real throwaway.

"Colossus" is a generally heavier and more powerful number, with a slow thumping beat and distorted lead guitar. The song contrasts well with the bulk of the album, but suffers like many of the songs here from inappropriate brevity. The following "Mega star", the second longest song on the album at 3:26, maintains the heavier mood, but in a more upbeat, rock orientated style.

"Don't lock up your door" delves deeper into Simon and Garfunkel territory with twin lead vocals and multiple acoustic instruments. The track suffers from a common practice on the album of being faded far too soon. It is followed by "Once with you", a pleasantly orchestrated song which inexplicably fades after just a minute and a half.

In all, a pleasantly diverse collection from Spirit which moves even farther from their albums of the late 1960's. There are certainly some low points, and it is hard to identify anything prog at all, but a number of the songs are irresistible and highly enjoyable.

At just over 32 minutes, the album is extraordinarily short, the longest track being a mere 3 minutes.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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