The American Breed – The American Breed

ImageAlthough their album cover may be weird, The American Breed’s music is anything but weird. Their self-titled debut, released on Atca Records in 1967, is a dynamic collection of pop rock tunes awakened “with their own unique jazz-rock touch.” This album is loaded with radio-friendly hits reworked to fit the jazz-influenced style of The American Breed. Many of the songs contain heavy (but not overbearing) use of the trumpet to aid The American Breed’s jazz-infused rock ‘n’ roll sound. For example, the song “High Heel Sneakers” is a beautiful reworking of ultra-popular hit to include an underlying trumpet beat. Although some of their covers like “Knock on Wood” and “Lipstick Traces” are a little on the bland side, on many occasions The American Breed proves that they are master remasterers. Their version of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” is a phenomenal transition from soul to rock ‘n’ roll. My favorite cover of the album has to be a reproduction of The Animals’s “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” The cover is true in all the right places with adding just a dash  of their own style here and there. While their debut album certainly showcases their ability to remaster those mid-60s hits, it also demonstrates their ability to produce their own songs. The American Breed bring their jazz-rock instrumentalism and their steady harmonies to “Same Old Thing,” a catchy, trumpet-heavy display of originality. The American Breed also add a 60s psychedelic aspect to their jazz-inspired rock with the song “Step Out of Your Mind.” It’s a perfectly poppy yet psychedelically symphonic tune that pleases and eases the mind; it is a very close second to my favorite original on the album: “Short Skirts.” Perhaps even more far out, “Short Skirts” relies on heavy distortion and a tremendous beat to blend jazz, rock, psychedelic and surf. This combo will have your brain teaming with delight at the essence of 60s underground music. All-in-all, this self-titled debut is quite a surprise. Yes it has its blemishes, but they’re not overwhelming and by no means numerous. Most of the songs are refreshing takes on old classics with a few original triumphs scattered in. For the fan of 60s jazz, rock and pop, this album may even be a dream come true. For a first album on a smaller label, I’d consider this a bigger success.  B+