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Lighthouse - Peacing It All Together CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.23 | 21 ratings

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3 stars The third LP from Toronto's Lighthouse, Peacing It All Together was released in 1970 according to Discogs, not in '69, the same year as their first two (although, of course, that sort of ambition has been seen as successful elsewhere). Forming in '68, the year of the first most popular(?) boom of Jazz-Rock, unsurprisingly, this only occasionally bears resemblance to the two biggest players at the game then, Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. My memory has always served in Lighthouse's favor, thinking on their debut and second albums (self-titled and Suite Feeling, respectively). Couldn't help but feel at least optimistic here.

We start off with "Nam Myoho Renge' Kyo / Let The Happiness Begin", with a positive-sounding repetition of the title of the former part (later picked up as "The Chant") seemingly betrayed by a dark turn with the introduction of the horns [This minor-key element is utilized to break up the chorus going into the second verse]. But all the same, as the name does imply, the song is bright and sunny in disposition. At the turn of the decade, no surprise hearing this kind of unabashed "Happiness", and they certainly will convince you it's genuine, too. Overall, some really nice compositional elements, though the majority is basically for the Flower Children. Up next, we have a classical interpolation of Beethoven's... Uhhh... Ok, well... you know it. I don't ever expect to know the actual names of these pieces, famous as they are. I was just a little frustrated I couldn't convincingly find the answer. This solo piano gives way to full-band triumph as "Every Day I Am Reminded" truly begins. The solo and group vocals are pretty spectacular, appealing to my love of Vocal Sunshine Pop (not so much like the Beach Boys, but maybe like the Gary Usher-associated studio groups of the late-60s, Sagittarius or its offshoot Millennium). The track has a soft lilting rhythm to it, and the overall effect is pretty moving to me. Best time as ever to mention the lower quality recording that I have at my disposal here; it's a bit weak, with the vocals taking great (and sole) priority over anything, but most notably the horns and drums.

Thankfully the drums are back in full here on the upbeat, self-explanatory "The Country Song", a folksy number in Country-Western ballad style, sitting at the crossroads of our of-the-time vocal Pop. Certainly an interesting one. I guess for fans of the Byrds. I quite like it, but its ability to stick here is probably pretty wanting, to give a strong guess. "Sausalito" is another poppy number, introducing more Americana elements, mostly from Folk. Of most interest here will be the bridge section, as we approach minute 2. This is brief, but did add some magic touches. We get a small kick of Rock, right in the ass, with "The Fiction of Twenty-Six Million". There are things I like here, but it's a bit hokey (and definitely aged). The lead guitar work here is notable, though! And really, compositionally/instrumentally speaking, I feel it's the shiniest thing so far, so I'm conflicted (wish I liked the weaker elements more? haha). I wasn't sure how I'd feel, but the aforementioned "The Chant" is up next, the return of our opening section of the first track, so... a reprise? I get it, I guess, but it's a very 'Whatever' kind of moment on the album. And honestly a ding against it.

"Mr. Candleman" is yet another with truly American idioms (and therefore Canadian?) at the fore. The vocals also sound as though resembling Bob Dylan--accompaniment rootsy and dancey enough to be Dylan with The Band--for God's sake! And violin is used predominantly as a solo instrument. Even so, its bridge section, likewise as brief as the last mentioned, has some real nice things to offer. The instrumentation is great, and, in great part due to the violin, "Candleman" is a surprise Classical Crossover track, too(!). "On My Way To L.A." is a dark Psych-Jazz-Rock! Right off the bat, I feel, this is the first I was truly excited about. The vocals are once again one of the strongest elements (we know it, their producer knew it), but everyone is bringing their A-game here. And finally, a worthwhile instrumental bridge which is treated with the respect it deserved. This opens into a guitar solo, which again is very welcomed in the case of Lighthouse's own Ralph Cole. If it's 'Crossover' here as well, it's a dark and Modern-Classical present; praise be. A near-essential, by my estimation.

The monstrous juxtapositional gap between "On My Way" and "Daughters and Sons" to follow is really something, but I'm mostly just happy to see it. This song is a soft-textured, folksy ballad. Paul Hoffert provides a lead role on vibraphone. In a big surprise (from what my expectations would be and certainly were), this is one of the strongest tracks of the whole. Approaching the close, we return to sunny disposition on "Just a Little More Time". Not in love with the verses (the first, specifically), to say the least, but the chorus has more tasty morsels. Overall, a worthwhile track to check out, in my poptimistic opinion; little to offer Prog fans as 'Prog' (let alone 'Fusion'). And finally we have the forward-driving "Little People", closing with our "Chant" (for better or worse?) [I didn't care by the end, and they barely included it anyways]. I'm into it! [At first, at least.] These aren't the 'little people' of TLC's beloved, likely-not-at-all-problematic programming, but of course the average human person? I still feel condescended somehow haha.

I will say in closing, the sonic production issues of certain tracks in the first half were not detectable by the middle of the album. That still doesn't help the mystery of those less fortunate tracks. Generally, I look forward to further digging into Lighthouse. This, though, was a bit of a lull. If my personal tastes were all I was going off of, this album might stand at a solid 3.0 (after adjusting for its obvious and most regrettable sins haha), but instead... [a certainly still rounded-up...]

True Rate: 2.75/5.0

DangHeck | 3/5 |


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