Sunset Blvd. Records, 2020

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Okay, who remembers Firefall? “Strange Way,” “Just Remember I Love You?” Those were delightful AM pop hits back when my mom was a teenager. Formed by members of Spirit, The Byrds, and the Burrito Brothers in the ‘70s, the band had hits for a while…and then MTV came around and that brand of music was banished to the oldies stations forever. Now, for the first time since 1994, Firefall has reemerged with a brand new studio album from a lineup that includes three original members. Now, I’m not sure if this was something that anyone had been truly asking for, but what the hell, let’s see if it’s worth a listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unfortunately, the production sounds like hell, and from the opening track, “Way Back When,” drummer Sandy Ficca sounds like he’s beating a cardboard box. The harmonies are good between the three singers, but the song feels hokey and overly nostalgic. I hear some of these songs and I can’t help but think of the upbeat and overly cheerful Up With People/Lawrence Welk sort of vibe. Frontman Gary Jones would be better suited for a revival of a ‘90s country band as that’s the style he’s more of a fit for.

“Hardest Chain” is one of the most annoyingly dumb songs I’ve heard in a while, but bassist Mark Andes brings things back with a cover of his old band Spirit’s “Nature’s Way,” a nice tribute to the memory of Randy California. It’s definitely one of the album’s few highlights. “There She Is,” a spry little rocker sung by bandleader Jock Bartley, is another notable song. But if anyone is looking for the folk-rock stylings that made the band so interesting back in the ‘70s, that’s pretty much long gone, replaced by a slick pop-rock vibe that fits Gary Jones’ vocal stylings but seems rather unnecessary and uninteresting. Even a 2020 rewrite of their ‘70s hit “Mexico” doesn’t work.

This is a nice attempt, but did it have to be so cheesy and awkward?

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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