Homer – Homer (1972; 2012 reissue)

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Under different circumstances, there is no doubt Homer would have been major players in the hard-rock league. The San Antonio, Texas band’s lead guitarist, Galen Niles, informs us in the liner notes to this comprehensive collection of works that limited distribution of their discs was the prime reason they were unable to move beyond their locale.

Established in 1967, Homer came to be at a time when experimentation was encouraged and embraced. Taking full advantage of such freedom, the band flooded their music with mercurial arrangements, reeling tempos and juicy jams, resulting in a razzle dazzle repertoire of inventive visages. But amid the flash, Homer kept it real. An earthy essence penetrated the band’s material, and their energy was loose and vital.

Picked up by the Universal Recording Artists label, Homer released their first single, “I Never Cared For You,” in 1970. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry must have caught wind of the disc somewhere along the way, because parts of Aersomith’s “Back In The Saddle” sound exactly like Homer’s version of the Willie Nelson song. And I do mean exactly alike! Piloted by force and power, “I Never Cared For You” proved to be an ideal introduction to Homer’s industrious brand of heavy rock. But as affirmed by their third single, “Dandelion Wine”/”Sunrise,” the band was not one dimensional. Erupting with mile high harmonies, jingly jangly breaks and gleaming psychedelic signals, both these tunes project a heavenly folk pop aura.

Late 1972 saw the arrival of what would be the band’s lone album. Plainly titled Homer, the record promises excitement from beginning to end. Sturdy vocals, brimming with clarity and insight, exist in perfect unison with the smoking guitar tricks and buffed drumming governing the songs. Twirling hooks appear everywhere, catchy choruses abound and the rhythms shift and squirm with agility. “Circles In The North,” “Love’s Coming” and “Four Days And Nights (Without You)” particularly zoom in on Homer’s majestic flair for performing acid-scented progressive rock. Surprises are met at each angle, but the band still manages to maintain their composure. The most commercial cut on the album is “Taking Me Home,” which bristles to the crackling beat of the kind of country pop mannerisms the Doobie Brothers specialized in.

Packed solid with killer chops and the songs to match, Homer — now seeing reissue through Gear Fab Records — would have surely set the FM dial on fire had it received proper promotion. Stitching together the psychedelic folk rock flavorings of the Byrds, Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield with the intricate doodles of Uriah Heep, the band also occasionally trimmed their music with splashes of southern fried hospitality. Vibrating with imagination, Homer serves as a grand celebration of hard rocking hullaballo produced by a band that truly believed in what they were doing. Simply outstanding!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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