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Chicago - Chicago VIII CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.96 | 61 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Some consider 'CHICAGO VIII' the band's most 'lazy' album at the time of its release - many of the tracks here are a departure from their more exciting Jazz-Rock orientated approach. What I can see (hear) here is the willingness to experiment and break away from their tried & true formula - not every track on this album stars their 3-piece Wind section. Opening with an out-'n'-out rocker, Cetera's 'Anyway You Want', anyone would expect nothing but some pedestrian mainstream Rock album. The track is O.K. at best, but things improve with trombonist Jimmy Pankow's 'Brand New Love Affair' parts 1 & 2, offering a pleasant pairing contrasting of a lightly Jazzy and soulful first half, becoming 'rockier' in the 2nd half. Keyboardist Robert Lamm's first contribution here is 'Never Been In Love Before' - a ballad which features an interesting arrangement - I find its chorus quite dramatic. Another Cetera- penned tune, 'Hideaway', ditches the horns altogether and gives the listener something more akin to, as reviewer Easy Livin' has stated, Black Sabbath - definately recalls, perhaps, something off their 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' album. Even if Cetera admired the band 'FREE', this sounds grittier than any work I've heard from that band. Side 1 closes with a softer ballad tune sung by Terry Kath which sounds like its main instruments are Harmonium & 12-string guitar... I could be wrong but.... The 2nd side opens with the minor hit single 'Harry Truman', not an entirely engaging track to be honest, although it's nice to hear a clarinet arrangement from woodwind wizard Walt Parazaider. Next up is the album's longest cut, guitarist Terry Kath's 'Oh, Thank You, Great Spirit', an ode to Jimi Hendrix, and a creative slab of 7+ minutes which starts out atmospherically, and after some sung verses, becomes heavier as it goes along with some fiesty, multiple guitar tracks all combining to form a really full-on assault - Kath on top of his game right here, with the Wind players ditched again. Sounds nothing like the Brass-Rock of 'typical' Chicago - a really impressive and surprising composition. The last 3 tunes revert back to the band's basics and kind of wind the album down without causing too much harm to their reputation. Overall, definately a 3 star album, and I award this rating even after having listened to the 2 Elephant9 LP's I've acquired recently !!!
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |


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