A true progressive rock novelty, Canvas' Avenues is a 21-track double CD which is NOT a concept album. Just how intelligent a marketing ploy this turns out to be remains to be seen. The band is made up of two full-time members: Matt Sweitzer and Chris Cobel who play various instruments , accompanied by 5 guest musicians to round out the sound. Combined, they play a mish-mash of many influences , including early '80's Camel and Steely Dan, with touches of American Folk music and early R.E.M. Track 7 from disc 1 "Getting There" is eerily reminiscent of Jadis (pick a track, they are all the same), while track 2 from disc 2 "Crow" unabashedly steals a passage from Kansas' "Magnum Opus".
The band even goes so far as to post an open invitation (which I will pass along to you, dear reader) for any musicians (mostly horns and strings) as well as any lyricists to submit their material to the band's website for possible subsequent use. Does this imply that the band "shot it's load" on this 21 track epic ? Let's hope this is not the extent of the band's creativity as many of the tracks on this disc leave the listener (at least this one) completely ambivalent. This could have easily have been a 12 track single CD which would have come across as being much more cohesive and fast paced.
The saving graces of this disc (and there are a few) have to be the instrumental tracks, where the band flirts with more adventuresome progressive rock. As a guitarist, Matt Sweitzer does offers up some very palatable guitar fills, with a surprising amount of versatility; which keeps this disc from being completely off the mark. AOR fans may get their fill on this one, but sitting through appr 115 min of Canvas has made this reviewer take the dive onto the canvas. Ho-Hum..