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CD REVIEW: West 78 - "American Girl"
By David Lockeretz - 10/13/2002 - 09:43 PM EDT

Artist: Band: West 78
Album: American Girl
CD Review: Hailing from just north of San Diego, West 78 demonstrates a grasp of songwriting craftsmanship that is all too rare in contemporary pop rock music.

Their songs are catchy, showing variety without sacrificing consistency of sound. Heavier songs like "Walls and Barriers" are contrasted by the more upbeat sound of "Changing Class" and the gentler sound of "Come On Over." My favorite is "It Takes A Long Time", in which seemingly different melodic, harmonic and rhythmic motifs are melded together in a satisfying and convincing whole.

Using piano, organ and a good array of guitar sounds and textures, West 78's sound is easy to like. The one thing that needs improvement are the vocals. Kerry Bell's idiosyncratic singing style, sort of like a cross between Bob Dylan and Ric Ocasek, doesn't seem to fit all of the songs. On a few tracks, the vocals are simply not prominent enough in the mix.

Other than that, this CD is definitely a solid effort, and we should expect to be hearing more from West 78.

For more information about West 78, visit www.west78.com.


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