Even one of the most misguided marketing campaigns in history couldn't obscure the sheer brilliance of this San Francisco-based quintet's self-titled 1967 debut. Guitarist Skip Spence was the original Jefferson Airplane's drummer, and lead guitarists Peter Lewis and Jerry Miller, bassist Bob Mosley, and drummer Don Stevenson were seasoned garage-band veterans. Everybody sang, everybody wrote songs, and their musical influences were equally diverse. They favored tight compositions and performances in an era when most groups didn't, so naturally they were the subject of a huge bidding war. To celebrate its triumph, the record label released five singles--and the album--simultaneously. People cried "hype" and not one of them hit. The album, however, was a solid seller and remains the rock upon which the group's reputation still rests. The slashing guitars and soaring harmonies of "Omaha" and "Hey Grandma" still snap, crackle, and pop! The sock-it-to-ya soul of "Changes" and the dueling guitars and vocals of "Indifference" still rock. The gentle folk ballad "Fall on You," the delicate "Sitting by the Window," and the country-flavored "8:05" are all strong songs, distinguished by their balance of four-part harmonies and three-guitar power.
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