The southern California-based band West 78 took on the challenge of combining the outwardly different sounds of hard rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, and alternative rock to present us with American Girl [self-released/Kerry Bell Productions]. Let’s just say it’s nothing that we haven’t heard before.
Their sound, featuring a wide range of guitar riffs and textures seasoned with a little piano and organ, has been compared to that of the Counting Crows or the Dave Matthews Band. That’s a stretch, but there’s no dispute that talent abounds in their musical ability – their instrumentals are pretty darn good, especially the guitars – but the vocals lack passion. The cover for the album American Girl also misses the mark on design—most of our staff thought that was the name of the band. Anyway, this disc is a good effort (OK, maybe just an ‘effort’ and cross out ‘good’), but it lacks originality and unless the band develops their own sound, we probably won’t be seeing much more of West 78.