Recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York with former Jimi Hendrix manager Michael Jeffrey listed as "Executive Producer" (the band thanks its exclusive manager, Peter W. Glick, under the credits), the second album from Banchee entitled Thinkin' sounds like a lightweight Steely Dan with aspirations of being a heavy Santana. Doubly confusing is the beautiful cover painting of what looks like a black knight on a white horse outside a castle covered in clouds. Remember when the latter-day H.P. Lovecraft dropped the H.P. and went Latin rock? Though Banchee might be considered more technically proficient than Michael Tegza and company, the material is, unfortunately, just as bland as Lovecraft. The title track has plenty of fiery soloing and is as energetic as the group Lighthouse sans the horns, while "Searcher's Life"
sounds faintly like "Black Friday" four years before Fagen and Becker hit with that Top 40 tune. Peter Anthony Alongi's guitar screams out of the speaker, the on-key and sometimes ominous vocals taking a back seat. One Internet site had the LP up for sale at $95.00, which is pretty amazing. The production -- by the band and engineers Dave Palmer and Ralph Moss -- nicks some riffs from Chicago and other mainstream bands of the day without finding a hit single for impact. "Children of the Universe" shows that the quintet needed to listen to Black Sabbath to understand how to make this concept work. But the bandmembers get an A for effort -- the chops are there, and on the back cover they even look like the Sabbath dudes. The problem with the album can be summed up in the eight-minute-and-58-second track that concludes the disc. "38" is too heavy to be light rock and too light to be heavy metal. The song by Jose Miguel de Jesus has a vocal that imitates the David Crosby of "Almost Cut My Hair." And CSNY meets Ozzy Osbourne hardly sounds like a delectable blend.