The group's first album with Michael McDonald marked a shift to a more mellow and self-consciously soulful sound for the Doobies, not all that different from what happened to Steely Dan -- whence McDonald (and Jeff Baxter) had come -- between, say, Can't Buy a Thrill and Pretzel Logic. They showed an ability to expand on the lyricism of Patrick Simmons and Baxter's writing on "Wheels of Fortune," while the title track introduced McDonald's white funk sound cold to their output, successfully. Simmons' "8th Avenue Shuffle" vaguely recalled "Black Water," only with an urban theme and a more self-consciously soul sound (with extraordinarily beautiful choruses and a thick, rippling guitar break). "Rio" and "It Keeps You Runnin'" both manage to sound like Steely Dan tracks -- and that's a compliment -- while Tiran Porter's hauntingly beautiful "For Someone Special" was a pure soul classic right in the midst of all of these higher-energy pieces. Tom Johnston's "Turn It Loose" is a last look back to their earlier sound, while Simmons' "Carry Me Away" shows off the new interplay and sounds that were to carry the group into the 1980s, with gorgeous playing and singing all around.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder