Return to Earth is the 12th from the Samples and is a return to their glory days. The CD was recorded at Electric Wilburland Studios, located in a renovated Baptist church that dates back to the early 1900s. Because of solo projects, the band took two years to record Return to Earth, and the result is very positive. The inspirational recording location and the thoughtful pace allowed the band to create what loyal followers will hear as a throwback to the band's debut. Years of label turmoil seemed to have sucked the life out of a band which loved making music and touring. The rebirth as an independent band has rejuvenated the group. The Samples and Toad the Wet Sprocket are two band who enjoyed major-label success but also developed their careers through grassroots efforts. In some ways, Return to Earth is similar from the band's other CDs, focusing on environmentally friendly lyrics and intelligent melodies. However, the extra time taken resulted in better songwriting and inspired, economical performances. The highlight on this album is the appearance of Dave Matthews Band's Boyd Tinsley on "Great Blue Ocean." However, unlike his guest spot on Autopilot, this song is not the only strong track in the set. Songs like "The Class of 1979" and "Tom Joad (All Right Here)" are among the more mature and interesting compositions the band has released in years. Other highlights include "Wild River" and "Lonely Soul." This is a good pickup for Samples fans who might have taken some time off from the band.
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AllMusic Review by JT Griffith