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TRACK LIST: 1. Hello 3:20 2. The Sun & the Sand 4:26 3. Apathy 3:47 4. Ambition 3:18 5. You 3:55 6. Desert Song / Pharaohs March 11:10 7. I Should of Known 4:56 8. Eva's Birthday 3:40 9. Fine Lines 5:42 10. Working Girl 3:37 11. Yes & No 3:20 All tracks: by Love, except: 9 & 10: by Love & Steimonts. LINE-UP: Brad Love - lead vocals; piano Ken Steimonts - basses; vocals Richard Bryans - drums; vocals Paul Madden - keyboards Toby Bowen - guitars With: string quartet - on 8 Recorded in Los Angeles (1977 to '79). Produced by Aviary.
Prolusion. The American band Aviary was active in the second half of the 1970s, and their only eponymous album was released by Epic Records in 1979 and reissued by Rewind, a division of Sony Music, in 2001. The hero of this review, "Ambition", is the new Aviary output, which however features unreleased materials written and recorded from 1975 to 1979. The album is dedicated to the memory of Ken Steimonts (see line-up above).
Synopsis. So-called compilations of previously unreleased materials are usually of interest to completists only, but Aviary's "Ambition" is another story altogether and deserves a real send-off. In short, I am very, very astonished at "Ambition", which is a truly outstanding album and is great from the first to the last note. A child of genuine inspiration and high professionalism, the music here is wonderfully both melodious and complex and is just filled with magic. The album is stylistically quite uniform and is about Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of progressive Hard Rock, though four out of the eleven songs here feature in addition elements of light classical music. While traces of influences of Queen and late Beatles are noticeable on about a half of the tracks on "Ambition", they cannot prevent my ears to recognize that on the whole, Aviary play in a style, which is outstandingly original and is full of unique ides that are certainly their own. Furthermore, marked with the continuous use of complex meters, very frequent changes of tempo, tone, and mood, and a truly progressive drive, this music is for the most part much more complex than that on any of the albums by Queen and The Beatles. Despite the fact that almost all of the songs here are short, most of them contain a huge number of different themes, and the arrangements that they consist of are highly inventive and intriguing and are always diverse and intense, i.e. regardless of whether there are vocals at the moment or not. And the vocals on the album need to be specially described. They're truly artistic, very diverse, and highly impressive, and the possessor of them, the main mastermind behind the band Brad Love, is definitely one of the strongest singers in the history of Prog, though his talents as a pianist are also more than remarkable.
Conclusion. Every part of the music on "Ambition" is so excellently thought out and is so impressive that while listened to the album, I sat in front of my speakers like being enchanted. This collection of unreleased songs is so strong that it can easily be considered one of the best albums released at the very decline of the 'mainstream' era of Prog. In my honest opinion, the release of "Ambition" is the most important Progressive-related event of the first half of 2003.
VM: July 31, 2003
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