The Association's third album is not in a league with its debut, but Insight Out is an enjoyable folk-rock album with a few digressions into garage punk, novelty tunes, and psychedelia, all displaying much of what the group did best. The harmonies and choruses are among the most beautifully textured singing in a rock outfit this side of the Beach Boys, while the playing is engaging. Insight Out was done somewhat in the shadow of Harpers Bizarre's experimental "Feelin' Groovy" single -- the opening number, "Wasn't It a Bit Like Now," was an exercise in nostalgia similar to the later successful songs of Harpers Bizarre. "On a Quiet Night" and "We Love Us" are folk-rock ballads on which the group's harmonies are the highlight, while "When Love Comes to Me" is a breezy little mood piece that resembles a slightly more ornate cousin to Simon & Garfunkel's "Punky's Dilemma." In that company, the number one single "Windy" (the presence of which helped drive up sales of this album) sounds almost heavy and hard-rocking. It and the accompanying single, "Never My Love" (which was later a hit for the 5th Dimension), are the strongest tracks here. The group's attempt at a harder, garage band-type sound on "Reputation" is passable, but this obviously wasn't what fans were buying the album to hear. The sunshine pop sound of "Happiness Is" and the radiant "Sometimes" were more to the point, and these are prime Association material, comprising soaring harmonies and hook-laden guitar parts.
Insight Out Review
by Bruce Eder