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28 Jun 2014 - 07:26:38 pm

CHICAGO - Now: Chicago XXXVI [Japanese Edition] (2014)

CHICAGO - Now: Chicago XXXVI [Japanese Edition] (2014) full 

Frontiers Records will release worldwide next month the new CHICAGO album "Now: Chicago XXXVI", the band's full record of new compositions in the eight years since 2006's Chicago XXX.
Appeared in the Asian market last week, this Japanese version features 2 bonus tracks.

Chicago singer, keyboardist and co-founder Robert Lamm says that sticking the word "Now" at the front of "Chicago XXXVI's" title is no insignificant detail. 
"There's a lot of reasons, Lamm says; "I think that there are many people who, whether they like Chicago or don't like Chicago, assume that what Chicago does is all what you hear on classic rock radio, or that Chicago is some dinosaur-like presence on the tour circuit.
And we just wanted to kind of change that perception if we could by suggesting *Now*".

Well, after my first listen of "Now", I have to disagree a little with Lamm... Chicago XXXVI does sound like 'classic Chicago'.
I mean, this is the Chicago that we - '80s AOR / Westcoast fans - love with passion.
The songwriting, the polished arrangements, the superb harmony vocals, the breezy melodies which made this legendary band famous during their most commercial Eighties era have returned aplenty with "Now" !!!
I think a great part of this achievement has been the extremely talented contributions of Lou Pardini with his first songwriting credits in Chicago since joining the band.

Besides, you can hear the magical touch of Jason Scheff on most of the arrangements, the drumming of monster Tris Imboden is clearly focused on '80s rhythms and even we have the heavenly guitar solos of Tim Pierce, the obligatory session musician in any quality record of the genre during the golden decade.
Of course the trademark Chicago horn section is present on the album, but used as orchestration for the melodies, which rule on this "Now: Chicago XXXVI".
The guitars are all over and are quite punchy (just check the awesome solo on the rocking "Free At Last") and the lead vocals range from powerful to ethereal. But for the most part this is an uptempo record.

Title track and opener "Now" is pure Chicago circa 1987 (their most brilliant era in my opinion) mixing a smooth L.A. groove with terrific harmony vocals during the chorus. Jason Scheff shines on lead vocals and the solo rocks hard.
Next, Robert Lamm offers some strong vocals on "More Will Be Revealed", a stomping AOR song littered with sweeping keys and dazzling horn arrangements. An then "America" begins with a lovely a cappella / multi-part harmony vocals section, before a throaty vocal leads off into a wonderful WestCoast number, something these guys just do effortlessly.

These 3 first tracks worth this CD alone.
Quality is maintained throughout the rest of the record, but I don't need to enumerate more. I can't find a weak track on "Now: Chicago XXXVI", seriously.
The impressive production values on this album really allow each and every vocal and instrument to sparkle. 
If you like Classic WestCoast / AOR with a second half of the '80s sound &amp; feel (the best in my book) do yourself a favor and don't miss "Now: Chicago XXXVI", an awesome, unexpected (by me, at least) new wonderful album by Chicago.
SUPER, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


01. Now
02. More Will Be Revealed
03. America
04. Crazy Happy
05. Free At Last
06. Love Lives On
07. Something's Coming, I Know
08. Watching All The Colors
09. Nice Girl
10. Naked In The Garden Of Allah
11. Another Trippy Day (Japanese bonus track)
12. Introduction (Japanese bonus track)

Robert Lamm - keyboards, lead &amp; backing vocals
Jason Scheff - bass, lead &amp; backing vocals
Tris Imboden - drums
Keith Howland - guitars, vocals
Lou Pardini - keyboards, lead &amp; backing vocals
Lee Loughnane - horns, backing vocals
James Pankow, Walter Parazaider - steels
.
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http://vanishednot.blogsfan.net/0dRck-b1/CHICAGO-Now-Chicago-XXXVI-Japanese-Edition-2014-b1-p192.htm

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