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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Echo

By tom collins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 29, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Echo(Warner Bros.)

Echo follows up 1994's Wildflowers in flavor - this is a more stripped down Petty sound, yet a fuller, richly produced record. Now the Heartbreakers are a more mature kind of bar band - they rock, but with aural depth. Petty's lyrics continue to focus on the travails of small town girls and his protagonists' relationships with said girls, a milieu that should be tired but that Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell, principally, have found new ways to invigorate. Songs like "Free Girl Now" and "I Don't Wanna Fight" are straight-ahead rockers in the vein of "Honey Bee." Petty seems more a roots-oriented, bar-band leader than ever with songs like "Accused of Love" and "Billy the Kid." The song "No More" even features a string section and a bongo. Indeed, Petty, unlike many of his contemporaries still seems a man motivated by music and good-time rock 'n' roll.

- tom collins