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Chicago: Now - XXXVI

Is the veteran band’s latest jamboree worth your brass?

To most, Chicago are little more than a by-word for pristine, saccharine-overloaded balladry.

To be fair to them, it’s been a few years since the likes of If You Leave Me Now, Hard Habit To Break or You’re The Inspiration held sway over the charts both sides of the Atlantic. It’s also worth noting that throughout the 70s Chicago indulged in the kind of music that would certainly have piqued the interest of the progressive music fan – Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon for example. Live, too, they remain an exhilarating proposition, and the release of the now-mythical Stone Of Sisyphus in 2008 (an album that their label refused to offer release back in 1994) suggested they might shift back to their earlier musical experimentation. Alas, that seems gone out the window with their latest album of all-new material, and 36 comprises mature (and not even all that memorable) adult rock that rarely breaks sweat. Indeed, they don’t even indulge in much power ballading; the cloying Love Lives On is the only meagre offering in that vein. The final two tracks, the quirky Naked In The Garden Of Allah and the beatific Another Trippy Day arouse interest, but even then, not that much. A disappointment, then.

Via Frontiers

Jerry Ewing
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.