West 78

American Girl

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On American Girl, veteran rockers West 78 emerge as a working-class all-American guy band enjoyably fusing elements of hard rock, alternative pop, jazz, and traditional R&B throughout their engaging repertoire. Expert players who stretch hot licks around cool melodies, West 78 captures the fervor of a live performance on this shimmering studio set. "Walls & Barriers" embraces prog rock, kicking off the album with a bass solo followed by synthesizer motifs that would send the founding members of Yes and Gentle Giant running for cover. The title cut owes allegiance to the British Invasion via winsome harmonies, whole tone chord progressions, and skittering keyboard riffs. Displaying gospel influences in "Come on Over" and blue-eyed soul yearnings on "Changing Class" by way of staccato, Motown-ish basslines under-pinning a classic Southern rock guitar solo, West 78 effortlessly switches gear without breaking a sweat. Throw in the novelty lounge-lizard anthem "You Got to Deal" and there's something about an American Girl that appeals to everyone. Good, clean fun.

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