The Cowsills: Susan Cowsill, Bob Cowsill, Bill Cowsill.
The third album by the Cowsills starts most promisingly with the appropriately soaring "We Can Fly," which features one of the most thrilling sunshine pop choruses of the group's career. Though nothing else on the album quite reaches those heights, this is probably the Cowsills' most consistently entertaining album. Featuring the highest percentage of original tunes by various Cowsill brothers, with only the somewhat treacly ballad "Yesterday's Girl" coming from an outside songwriter, We Can Fly is blessedly free of the lame covers and second-rate bubblegum castoffs that mar their other albums. The production, by Bill Cowsill and Bob Cowsill, incorporates the orchestral flourishes of the arrangements in an overtly Beatles-inspired pop/rock context, resulting in songs like the gently psychedelic "Beautiful Beige" and the sweet harmony pop of the Kinks-like "Mister Flynn" and "Gray, Sunny Day." After the requisite greatest-hits compilation -- you gotta have "The Rain, the Park and Other Things" and "Hair," after all -- We Can Fly should be the first avenue for further exploration. ~ Stewart Mason