Homer

Grown in the U.S.A.

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Although Homer's sole and rare album is full of ideas and busy late-psychedelic/early-progressive rock instrumentation, it's a bunch of notions in search of a road map, and ultimately doesn't say much. Sometimes there's similarity to early-'70s British progressive rock in the occasional Mellotron, the multi-sectioned song structures, and the dynamic instrumentation. There are country and folkier touches (including steel guitar), though, which were rare in such British music, sometimes leaving a slight odd feeling of hearing Neil Young (an influence especially audible on "Dawson Creek") intersect with Yes and the Moody Blues. The lyrics sometimes have a verge-on-the-better-world hippie outlook that, while laudable on paper, comes across as kind of sappy. The hard-to-get-a-handle-on eclecticism isn't the problem so much as far more common shortcomings in these kind of psychedelic-era obscurities: a lack of strong songs or gripping originality, despite the undoubted competence of the playing and vocals. The 2002 CD reissue on Akarma adds two tracks from a non-LP 1970 single that are actually the best things on the disc. They have more of an early psychedelic feel than the LP and a tighter focus to the songs, which sound a bit like the kind of guitar-heavy, phased psychedelic pop the Amboy Dukes did on "Journey to the Center of the Mind," or early Spirit.

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