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Aviary: Ambition

After the success of the CD reissue of Aviary's one and only major label recording last year, the band has decided to dig out of the vaults the finished second album that was never released. Titled Ambition, it is rather evident that the band tried to become more "ambitious" with these songs, which perhaps bothered SONY and prompted their being dropped from the label. This is good news for progressive rock fans, as Aviary carried over the distinctive, multi-layered harmonies and melodies that dripped all over their amazing debut, but added a lot more complex instrumentation and heaping amounts of vintage keyboard sounds.

All of the songs on Ambition were recorded between 1977-1979, with the exception of "Eva's Birthday", which was recorded before Aviary's debut back in 1975. That song is actually a bit different sounding than most of the other tunes in this set, combining a bit of Frank Zappa and The Beatles for a rather humorous but intriguing little ditty. "Hello" could have easily come off the debut, a vibrant, upbeat symphonic tune with Brad Love's cheery vocals leading the way like a cross between Jeff Lynne, Freddie Mercury, and John Lennon. The epic, 11-minute prog tour-de-force "Desert Songs/Pharaohs March" will delight any fan of the genre, alternating between majestic keyboard led melodicism and raging guitar/organ prog-metal. Love's shrieking vocals cover a wide spectrum, and the intricate guitar work of Toby Gowen and Paul Madden's vintage keyboard work bring to mind classic Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Dazzling Moog synthesizer lines from Madden team up with booming bass work from Ken Steimonts to give a strong ELP feel on "Working Girl", and the band combines soaring harmonies with intricate Gentle Giant intensity on the rocking "Yes and No." Keyboard lovers will drool after hearing the generous amounts of Mellotron, Hammond, and synths on the bubbly "The Sun, The Sand", complete with ELO styled vocal harmonies.

This is another compelling and gorgeous release from a band that should have been huge. It's all here folks-killer vocals, loads of intense instrumentation, and drop-dead perfect melodies. While the debut probably gets the edge as far as craftier melodies goes (not that this is lacking mind you), Ambition gets a slight nod as being more of what a progressive rock fan might want to hear. Every song is a gem in this collection, mixing pop hooks, hard rock, and intelligent progressive rock. This is highly, highly recommended!

Added: June 25th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Brad Love/Aviary Website
Hits: 9045
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Aviary: Ambition
Posted by have you ever met music b on 2005-04-14 03:53:36
My Score:

first time i saw the original vinyl cover of "Aviary", the debut album, i tought about pre '80 hairy eighty metal, first time i listened i fell in way back. and i was absolutely wrong, this is not stupid metal, this was a GROUP that made NEW MUSIC!! truely AOR, never heard before and after, with soaring vocals (brad is incredible still today!), big prog influences but with tons of melodies..fantastic, never known nothing better and i listen to any kind of old school rock (more than 3000 vynils, 1500 cds). brad and the boyz from aviary were young top artists, definitely. but major labels didn't care..old story. very unlucky group. buy "Ambition" and tell me if i'm wrong. cheers!

Aviary: Ambition
Posted by i should have known... on 2005-04-13 14:51:17
My Score:

...that this was the best group ever! no one after them...brad and the boyz were some young genius, buy the records and you will hear by yourself.

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