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Dreams
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  • Less controversially titled than 1973's Manhole, Grace Slick's second solo album is an inconsistent, erratic, yet often compelling collection. Written in the aftermath of an extended Alcoholics Anonymous stay, Slick's self-penned tunes revisit themes of self-reflection and atonement. As a result, her lyrics are far less obtuse, more accessible than usual, even becoming downright obvious on "Do It the Hard Way." It's a letdown for someone accustomed to her more poetic and challenging musings on previous Jefferson Airplane/Starship records. Musically the album is far less focused, with the subpar up-tempo track "Angel of Night" foretelling the vapid arena rock that would comprise her next solo album, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball. There are, however, several strong moments, such as the flamenco-styled "El Diablo" and the strong guitar work of Scott Zito on the sweeping "Full Moon Man." Most curious of the bunch, though, are the album-opening title track and the Slick-authored "Seasons": both surge on mock-whimsical melodies straight out of a haunted Biergarten, a side of Slick rarely seen before or since. Also new to her repertoire is the addition of orchestration on some tracks, ably arranged on the remarkable closer "Garden of Man" by Ron Frangipane. While her voice is not up to par on this record (there's a distinct husk and gasp on the album-opening title track in particular), Dreams is a useful acquisition for Grace Slick completists and listeners engrossed by the life and personality of its creator. ~ Joseph McCombs
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