MP3 Aviary - ROCK: Progressive Rock
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9 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Progressive Rock, ROCK: 70's Rock
Of all the great 70's pomp bands, perhaps none can rival AVIARY. Although misleading to the casual observer, the descriptions that must surely must follow this exceptional band's music are a delight to the connoisseur of pomp rock. Grandiose, pompous and bombastic, the unique songwriting talent of Brad Love and the musical skills he and his four fellow band members bring to this album, make it sill, some twenty years later, a very special piece of music. This reissue includes rare photos from the bands own archives, a 8 page booklet with liner notes by Stephen Allen and the original album re-mastered masterfully by Cliff Maag.
AVIARY were surely not the typical classic 80's AOR fodder with catchy hooklines and simple song structures - the band were often described as the greatest pomp rock band of the 70's. This album was released in the late 70's and fans of early KANSAS / STYX mixed with the perfect vocal harmonies of QUEEN and even the BEATLES. Their winning formula was a grandiose, pompous and bombastic wall of sound mixed with phenomenal arrangements and perfect musicianship. Fans of late 70's / early 80's Pomp - Prog AOR will be in heaven after listening to this brilliant re-mastered CD which also contains rare photos and liner notes by Stephen Allen. If you're more into the classic 80's AOR sound you better listen before you buy, as this isn't up the alley of Journey & Co ! -AOR Heaven
In the 1980s, I was listening to AOR and progressive rock and everything that was in between. And then someone let me hear this LP that I still think is in the very middle of those two musical styles. Difficult to label, but what a performance, what an impact it had. I was already planning to write about it for DPRP's Forgotten Sons section, when I got an e-mail from a record label saying the album was finally released on CD. And that's why you're reading about it here in the CD Reviews section.
I have heard people call Aviary AOR or pomp rock. But like I explained before, I don't agree. The album cover (the back cover of the CD is the front cover of the LP, showing the five band members in glamrock suits...), the structure of the songs with verses and choruses, the length of the songs, the musical and vocal performances (at first glance) might make you think it is that. But it's got so much more!
First, the keyboards have a much bigger role than in AOR or pomp rock (singer Brad Love and Paul Madden both play keyboads). The resulting sound is much less guitar-driven than regular AOR. (Mind you, I still like a good deal of AOR.) There is a lot of piano, reminding me of Queen now and then. In Puddles, there is also a hint towards The Beatles.
But there are more differences. The music is much more diverse, the compositions are much more complex. Many parts have guitar and keyboard lines alternating quickly or playing different lines simultaneously. Orchestral arrangements add even more elements to the songs. All songs are written by singer and keyboard player Brad Love. And the vocal performance is amazing, majestic! Freddie Mercury's voice is a tad more grand, but Brad Love is sounding like a choir of angels. His voice is clear and he has a very wide vocal range. Some parts in the music, both music and vocals, sound like Queen. But where Queen start to rock heavily, Aviary take the melodics a step further, adding progressive complexities.
For the CD issue, the original tapes have been handled very carefully. I now hear orchestral arrangements I have never heard on the LP. What a great improvement. And I already found the LP was amazing... Oh, those powerful and haunting organ sounds at the beginning of Feel The Heart gives me goosebumps already in the first second! (Think of Head East's Jefftown Creek.) It always amazes me how relatively short the songs are - there is so much happening that they seem a lot longer. It's not a couple of verses and choruses. The verses themselves are even very diverse, long before a chorus is due.
I have always wondered why a band like Aviary didn't record more albums. The song writing and the musical performance are so good. It must have had something to do with the time the album was recorded and released, and with record companies. The booklet contains a five-page story about the band, and yes, bad luck led the record companies to force the band to modernize their sound. After a name change (to Curves) they got a support tour with The Stranglers, while they could have been the support on a Queen tour! By the way, the LP (even my copy, printed in Holland) contained the lyrics to the songs on the inner sleeve. The CD booklet does not.
The booklet tells me the band recorded several demos before they recorded this album, and there are also two full albums recorded but not released! Also Brad Love's solo album Colours from 1982 has not been released on CD yet. I hope someone has the sense of releasing this stuff one day. I'll be the first to buy them! You're reading DPRP, which probably means you have some interest in progressive rock. If AOR or pomp rock or melodic rock of any kind (think of Journey, but also Queen) is also within your musical interest, you should definitely try this album. You won't be disappointed. - Jerry Van Kooten
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