Traffic Sound

Virgin

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Traffic Sound's first collection of originals -- as well as the band itself -- retains its wider reputation for the most part due to its title track, which has been anthologized a variety of times. The entirety of Virgin, though, has more to recommend it than the sweetly anthemic charge of that song, a mix of acoustic guitar and drumming with a sweet piano break to boot. "Meshkalina" was more of a hit in Peru itself, and there's no surprise as to why; with its energetic grooves, echoed breaks, and plenty of other touches, it's somewhere between classic Yardbirds and Santana in inspiration as a bit of psych/funk style. Songs like "Tell the World I'm Alive" have the same general feeling as "Virgin," the former having almost a glam-descend chord change and a similar world-weariness. Admittedly, "Simple" has a bit of a late Beatles feel to it, sounding like it was written by McCartney but maybe sung by Starr. The album's longest song, "Yellow Sea Days: March 7th, 8th, 9th," takes up almost a third of its length, and while it's not exactly an equivalent of the U.K.'s Traffic straight up, the flute parts, tempo changes, and more help signal prog on the march as much as the buried, slightly strained vocals. "Jews Caboose," with its woozy "You won't feel the same tomorrow," gets to have some full-on fun with psych tropes -- not least thanks to some loud as heck fuzz guitar.

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